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ISL: I don’t think I will return, says Nicolas Anelka

The second season of ISL itself has been rough and forgettable for the 36-year-old Nicolas Anelka.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai |
Updated: November 27, 2015 8:14:05 am

A disappointing 1-1 draw, at the DY Patil Stadium against the Kerala Blasters proved to be the final straw for Mumbai City marquee player-coach Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman, who returned this year for the second season of the Indian Super League as manager, has asserted that he will not be coming back for the third season.

“I don’t think I will come back. You have to speak to the team management. The target was to reach the semi-finals and the target has not been met, so I don’t think so,” he said at the post-match press conference. However, he did leave the option open for himself to return primarily as a player, yet did not commit to it. “As player maybe, I don’t know, I will have to rest and think what I need to do for the future,” he added.

The season itself has been rough and forgettable for the 36-year-old. In the early stages he had a spat with another returning player, Andre Moritz, who subsequently left the club. Later on there was a fall-out with assistant coach Oscar Bruzon, with whom Anelka shared a strained relationship due to their individual managerial philosophies.

Yet more recent were his reported comments about him being unable to handle an ‘unhappy’ Sunil Chhetri. On the night against the Blasters, the Indian skipper posed the picture of a disgruntled figure, constantly gesticulating at teammates and shouting at them when they were caught out of position or making a mistimed pass. The 31-year-old even refused to celebrate his side’s goal with his teammates, choosing instead to gather the ball from the net and walk back into his own half.

Anelka too made his disappointment in the team’s overall performance clear after the game. “I don’t think we had fighters in this team. Last season we had players who had 10% of the quality from this season. But the players then had more fight in them,” he said.

At the beginning of the season Anelka did mention that he did not see a long-term managerial career for himself. And now with two games left for the Mumbai team, the ISL is likely to see him as head coach for the last two times.

Postiga out injured

Kolkata: In what came as a big blow for Atletico de Kolkata, their marquee player Helder Postiga is likely to miss the remainder of the Indian Super League (ISL) as he is yet to regain full fitness. Atletico de Kolkata coach today Antonio Habas said he was not happy with Postiga’s recovery and virtually ruled him out of the tournament.
“He’s training with the side but he’s still not match fit. He’s still not fit enough to play in the tournament. At the moment he’s not available for ISL. He’s not making much improvement in his fitness,” Habas said.

Having suffered a ligament injury after scoring a stunning brace in their 3-2 win in the ISL opener in Chennai October 3, the Portuguese World Cupper went back to Spain.

He, however, came back and joined the squad in Delhi on November 14. PTI

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