KOLKATA: Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas has appealed for calm as he attempts to haul his team back into contention in the Hero Indian Super League.
Atletico de Kolkata for the first time ever have lost two back-to-back matches since the inception of the league last year. Kolkata lost to FC Pune City and NorthEast United FC by an identical 0-1 margin and now have a chance to make amends when they meet Delhi Dynamos at their home ground – Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday.
“It’s crucial for us to have those three points. You have to remain calm, progress everyday and progress with every game. This is the mentality that we must have,” Habas said during the pre-match media briefing.
Kolkata were earlier dealt a major blow with the injury of their marquee player Helder Postiga, who scored a brace in the only match that he played against Chennaiyin FC in the opener. Now star defender Josemi too is injured and will be out of action.
Habas, though, did not seem too worried and said he must focus on the players that are available.
“Our target will always be to win the game, no matter what. We cannot cry over players who are not with us tomorrow. I am very happy with the players (who are available). I trust hundred percent the remaining players,” said the Spanish coach, adding that he was pleased that, despite the losses, his team were creating several opportunities to score.
Delhi Dynamos have won three of their first five matches and coach Roberto Carlos is awaiting a tough battle against the defending champions.
“It’s never good to have any injury, either for my team or that of the opponent. I will never be happy if someone is injured. But when you talk of ATK, they are obviously the champions of this league. They have great players,” said Carlos.
“It’s going to be a good team as both teams love to attack. Our goal is certainly to collect full points,” said the Brazilian World Cup winner.
Asked why his team has scored so few goals in the competition and escaped with narrow victories, Carlos chose to salute the opponents.
“I want to congratulate our opponents because they have defended well. They know how to play (against us). They know the skills of our players, so they defend hard. Our players, Malouda, Gustavo, Gadze, Robin will have to move better and faster, so that they can score more,” said Carlos.
ATK are placed fifth on the table with seven points while Delhi Dynamos are occupying the fourth position with nine points from five matches.