Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS) South African winger Sameehg Doutie on Wednesday said Atletico de Kolkata’s (ATK) depth in the squad will be crucial against league toppers Mumbai City FC in the semi-final first leg Indian Super League (ISL) football match here on Saturday.
“We have reached the semi-finals not because of any individual but because the team combination was good,” Doutie told reporters.
When asked who, according to him, would be better at combining with him among fellow attackers Helder Postiga, Juan Belencoso or Iain Hume, Doutie said that the team’s strength allows the coach the freedom to choose whom he deems the most suitable.
“We have depth in the squad which has helped us till here,” the fleet-footed winger who has been a vital cog in ATK’s wheel so far, said.
ATK, who finished fourth in the points table, played out eight draws in 14 outings to reach the semis.
Doutie though swept aside questions of the city franchise being goal shy.
“We have the opportunity to go to the final. We have now made three semi-finals. The draws are not a concern. The aim was to reach here and we have done that.”
“Now we have to think of the knockouts which is a completely different ball game.The people of Kolkata have to support us. We have to believe we can go all the way,” he added.
Like coach Jose Molina, Doutie also believes playing at home first does not make any difference.
“It doesn’t make a difference whether we are playing home or away first. The first game is always very important. This is the game where we have to give everything, and then you can think of the second leg,” Doutie asserted.
The 27-year-old also didn’t pay much heed to ATK’s normally reliable goalkeeper Debjit Mazumder’s uncharacteristic mistake against FC Pune City in their last game, that forced ATK to concede a goal.
Speaking about it, Debjit said “I admit I conceded a silly goal in the last match. But that is football and it’s part of the game.”
Debjit said ATK’s porous backline is not a worry for him and that all the players are leaving no stone unturned to rectify it. He said there is no room for any mistakes in the semis.
“It’s time to get serious. We believe in the whole squad. There is nothing to worry in defence. In football you will concede goals. Now it’s a different ball game. They (Mumbai) beat us here and we respect that.”
Asked if there is any special plan to halt Mumbai’s marquee player Diego Forlan, who scored a hat-trick recently, Debjit said, “We have seen his videos. He is a big player and we have to be alert.”