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PRE-SEMI QUIPS- Zambrotta calls for positive attitude from his players; Coppell: Refereeing decisions could be a factor

KERALA WON THE FIRST LEG WITH A SOLITARY GOAL by Belfort. Second leg will be played at Delhi tonight. Both Head Coaches spoke to the media yesterday to discuss preparation for the second leg of the second semi final of ISL 3.

Coppell refused to lay any stress to seeing the first leg scoreline as any advantage to his team and said,

“To think that we don’t have any advantage is the way we are looking at the match and it is a game in isolation and we look at it very much that way and we prepare as well as we can as there hasn’t been a great deal of preparation time. As far as we are concerned it is nil-nil and we start again and we have got that mentality rather than we have our noses in front and you know you can do nothing better than treat the game by itself,”

Zambrotta, the Delhi Head Coach said he will players focussed on the winning tonight's game and shared,

“I know exactly that this is our last match at home, and tomorrow will be a very open match and a very difficult match. Kerala is a very strong team, and the only thing I have told my players is that they must have a positive attitude in order to have a good game tomorrow.”

Coppell denied that his team will come into the game with protecting the lead in mind. To that he further stated,

“I don’t think we can sort of defend anything and our mentality has got to be that it is a game which is 0-0… We have got to play a normal game and during the course of the game things might happen, goals might come, substitutions will be made and there will be referring decisions to be made and I must stress it is very important for the league that the referring is strong and not just for our game but for tonight’s game as well. One of the things that let the team down a little bit is the referring and I hope the referees are strong in recognising simulation and punishing it. I think it is important for the game going forward, so referring decisions could be a factor in deciding who wins the game tomorrow,”

Zambrotta talking about the first leg performance of his team commented,

“I analysed the last match and we have to get better regarding the way we play and keeping possession of the ball.”

Delhi are unbeaten at home and if this is a worrying sign that his side were beaten in the league game at Delhi, Coppell replied,

“Yes, they have a very good record at home and the prize is such that we have to do our job properly. It is a huge prize for both the sides and they have got a good record at home but they haven’t won every game at home and they have to win tomorrow to get to the final and I am certain they are not thinking too much about that and we are certainly not thinking too much about it,”

Asked about the changes that he is intending to make in the side that lost the Kerala in the first leg, Zambrotta replied,

“I don’t have any specific change for tomorrow and I have not yet told the players regarding the starting eleven, and I will not give any more information now,”

As said earlier, Coppell re-iterated that he felt there is no home advantage in the ISL. To a question on similar lines, he answered,

“Well, it is bound to be a different atmosphere and we just have got to adapt. This is more like a theatre atmosphere I would say as the stands are so far away anyway and it is a totally different feel to it and the energy comes from the pitch than from the stands and our energy has to be good to combat a very good Delhi team,” 

If he had plans to man-mark a Kerala player in the second leg, Zambrotta said he does not believe in suppressing individuals rather compete against the entire team. He added,

“I think it is not just any specific player. Kerala have a very good team and it is not about a specific player. They have Belfort, Nazon but we have got to focus on the whole team as they are good.”

Coppell heaped praises for the Blaster's co-owner Sachin Tendular saying,

“Sachin has been invaluable this year, he has been a sounding board for me. He has helped with the team affairs and he has spoken in the past to the team and I honestly don’t know if he will be here tomorrow and even if he is not here tomorrow I am sure he will be there with us in spirit and he is a great bloke,”

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