Preview: Out of the top-four race in the Indian Super League (ISL), defending champions ATK will look to salvage pride and get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Mumbai City FC here on Sunday.
ATK have been winless in their last five outings, breaking their four-game losing streak in the last match against Kerala Blasters with a 2-2 draw at home at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan.
Interim head coach Ashley Westwood had said that he was pleased with his team's performance and spoke about the positives from the game.
"We have not lost; we scored two goals in a game, which is the first time the club has done this season," he inferred.
"So, scoring was a problem, which I think we have broken a little bit now. Obviously, we need to be a little more ruthless at the back. But we can't be too displeased. We have come a long way in such a short period of time."
ATK have been injury-riddled throughout the season, losing Carl Becker at the start of the season and marquee player Robbie Keane not starting the intial few games. Midfield mainstay Eugeneseson Lyngdoh was also ruled out of the season early on.
After the last match, Westwood had more bad news as he revealed defender Jordi Montel was injured at half-time.
"Unfortunately, we have picked up another injury at half-time (Jordi Montel) and that's weakened us a little bit," he revealed.
"We are trying to get through games without picking up injuries. And that has been the story of our season. So, no matter what the coach does, if players keep getting injured for one reason or the other, it's always going to get hard."
When asked about his plans for the remaining fixtures, Westwood replied, "I think we can safely say that it is going to be very tough now to get to the playoffs. But what we need to do is keep playing and keep trying to win. We need to finish the season strongly."
Keane, arguably one of ISL's biggest names, has not been as successful as he was expected to be. The highest goal scorer for Republic of Ireland has played a total of 434 minutes in the ISL. He has started in four matches and lasted the entire game on three occasions. The 37-year-old has netted twice and has spent more time on the sidelines than on the field.
Coming to the away side, Mumbai have been in dismal form too. They succumbed to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of local rivals FC Pune City in their last tie, making it four defeats on the trot at home for them.
Placed seventh in the points table with 17 points from 14 games, the result left their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs hanging by a thread.
"We still have 12 points to play for," Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimaraes had said after the match.
"If we win the four games that we have, we can still have a possibility. Now, we have to think about giving our best, not make mistakes and we cannot even afford to draw," he added.
ATK are eighth in the table having 13 points from 14 games. In the previous meeting of the two sides, ATK won by a Robin Singh goal at the Mumbai Football Arena.
With inputs from IANS
Published Date: Feb 18, 2018 20:04 PM | Updated Date: Feb 18, 2018 22:28 PM