Kolkata: ATK chief coach Teddy Sheringham today said his team “went to sleep” after levelling 1-1 as FC Pune City bounced back to thrash the two-time champions 4-1 in the Indian Super League on Sunday.
“We got ourselves back with a fantastic freekick but then went to sleep for two seconds, putting ourselves under pressure by conceding a second goal,” Sheringham said at the post-match news conference.
Pune City drew first blood when their captain Marcelinho struck from an Emiliano Alfaro cross after taking advantage of a defensive error but ATK soon cancelled out the lead with a thunderous freekick from Bipin Singh after the break.
But ATK’s joy was shortlived as Pune City reclaimed their lead just a minute later with Rohit Kumar heading in from a corner from Marcelinho who also scored a second goal in their rout.
“We got ourselves back with a fantastic freekick from Bipin and then we switched off. You got to stand up today, it happens in football. We went to sleep with no marking. It’s no great from my point of view and something we need to work on.”
ATK had shown the stomach to fight in the first-half and created many opportunities but it turned out to be a lopsided scoreline in favour of the visitors in the end.
“They capitalised on our mistakes we didn’t capitalise on ours. We stared at a big margin at the end in what was a very closely fought game for an hour,” the coach said.
Terming it a team failure, Sheringham backed their trusted goalkeeper Debjit Majumder.
“You can’t really put it down to Debjit. First goal was a mistake, we can’t blame him for that. The second one was from a far post header and our midfield should have cleared it, the third and fourth ones came off deflection,” he said.
“From my point of view there’s nothing to blame Debjit, sometimes that happens in football. He performed well in the first game. It’s not always the goalkeeper’s fault,” he said strongly backing his goalkeeper.
“We defend as a team, we attack as a team. We defend from the front as well. We need to do better as a team. I’m not happy with the start but we took to the game to Pune and played fantastic football in the first half.”
Pune coach Ranko Popovic gave credit to Rohit Kumar’s goal and said it was a key moment in the match.
“The key moment was the second goal, it gave us the push.
We wanted to play more compact, play as a team. We did not know we will win by a 4-1 margin. We played smart football,” the Pune coach said.
Marcelinho struck twice and assisted in two other goals en route to their fine win.
“He played with the team, for the team. His performance was good of course,” Popovic said.
“He is one of the best players in the league. This is what we want from him, we hope he will continue at the same level in the next match.”
On scoring the brilliant header off Marcelinho’s corner to help them snatch the lead, Rohit Kumar said: “I saw the corner and just wanted to go for it and it was great to come back 2-1.
“It was most important to play well and win the match. I keep learning from the coaches, and keep developing everyday.
Everybody wants to play in the Indian team and I also hope for the same,” he said with a glint in his eyes.