We want to give the fans a reason to shout: Bobby Mimms
Two losses in the first two matches of the season and that, too, at home, has put ATK right at the bottom of the Indian Super League (ISL) table. However, goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms is certain that the players will play better, that they will perform better as a team sooner rather than later.
We caught up with the Englishman as the Kolkata-based club look to recuperate from the disappointing start before they take on Delhi Dynamos on 17th October 2018. Here are excerpts:
Q> What are your thoughts on the players' performance in the first two matches?
We know we can perform better as a team. Having said that, we were disappointed in not coming up with anything from the first game which we felt we should have done because it was a couple of individual mistakes that actually cost us a clean sheet. In the second game as well we couldn't come out with a point and not play as well as we know we can. I am certain that we'll play better.
Q> In pre-season, all three goalkeepers showed great ability and were able to keep a couple of clean sheets. But that hasn't been the case in the ISL so far...
At the moment, obviously I'm a little bit disappointed with not being able to keep clean sheets in the first two matches but as you said, in pre-season, we had clean sheets... The goalkeepers at the club, Arindam, Debjit and Avilash, they have really grasped on to the work we are doing, the ideas behind what we are trying to achieve. All through pre-season, all three of them, they've worked really hard and performed well in the games that they have played. The department, as I look at it, is appearing quite well at the moment.
Q> All three goalkeepers hail from the same region that is Bengal... do you see that as a plus?
They are getting on really well because they are from the same region and they work really well together and support each other. It's a position where only one can play and so there's always gonna be two goalkeepers who're going to be disappointed. On the evidence of pre-season and the first week of the season, they support each other and try and help in the game. And most importantly, they are all very willing to learn. As a coach, what more can I want?
Q> You've worked extensively in Europe and now you have been in India for a while now. What are your thoughts on the Indian goalkeepers at large?
I've worked in Jamshedpur last year with Subrata Paul who did really well for us during the seasons. Looking at the technical side of it, it's getting better with Indian goalkeepers. With a little bit of tweaking, we can improve...it'll keep improving.
However, game experience has been problematic for some of them. As you look at Arindam, he hasn't really played for clubs but he has got all ability in the world. So we are trying to bring that game know-how to help him and that way we'll get more clean sheets.
You've got give the same encouragement to everyone who plays. They do exactly the same work. I am not Arindam's goalkeeping coach, I am ATK's goalkeeping coach. For me, my aim is to get Debjit to number one, Avilash, who has got bags of ability to number 2 and Arindam even further.
Q> What do you have to say about the fans' support that you have seen so far?
The fans have been remarkable. So, hopefully, we can start winning some matches in Salt Lake. That'll make them want to come even more and be noisier and encourage their team. We want to give them a reason to shout about. They showed up in numbers in the first game. We want 41,000 every week and entertain them and make them want to come and shout the team on. They are our 12th Man and hopefully, we can entertain them and let them be a part of it.