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ISL 2020-21: Odisha FC’s Stuart Baxter – Have to make it difficult for ATK Mohun Bagan


The former Dundee United midfielder wants to carry forward the positives from the second half against Jamshedpur to his next match…

Stuart Baxter wants Odisha FC to take inspiration from the 2-2 draw against Jamshedpur FC before taking on ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday.

The Juggernauts were trailing by two goals at half time before second-half substitute Diego Mauricio scored twice to snatch a point from their last Indian Super League (ISL) tie.

“In the first half, even though we were trailing by two goals, we still played a lot better than we did against Hyderabad (lost 1-0). So I’m relatively pleased with the way we approached the game. We were compact, breaking out and playing through the lines much better but we gave away two sloppy goals that put us on the back foot,” the Odisha coach explained. 

“Luckily, in the second half, the players approached the game in the correct way and kept their beliefs, and we took it up a notch more in terms of our aggression. Of course, the free-kick when the goalkeeper (Rehenesh TP of Jamshedpur) was sent off was key because we scored at that moment. Everybody was hunting for that second goal and (when) we got the second goal we were really pushed to get the third.” 

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The British manager, however, is wary of the threat posed by ATK Mohun Bagan and opined that they must not give much space to either Roy Krishna or David Williams to operate. 

“They are a balanced side, have been together for a while and have a set way of playing that is difficult to play against. They have good players who can hurt you if you leave some space behind and if you don’t do that, they are very solid defensively. 

“We have to make sure that whilst we are throwing players forward, and they do have a well-organised defence, we have to take away the spaces (at the back) as well that they want and make it difficult on them.”

Baxter has a selection headache in the striking department as Diego Mauricio changed the complexion of the match with a brilliant performance in the last game, whereas Manuel Onwu links up better with his teammates. 

“Diego did make a massive impact when he came on but I think Manuel plays very well with the other players. So in my mind I have gotta decide whether I start with Diego who makes an impact or Manuel who plays well with the other players,” Baxter stated before signing off. 

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