Eelco Schattorie: Disappointed I couldn’t see my work at Kerala through

Former Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie rues not being able to see through the job he started with the Kochi-based Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) club but noted that he was glad to have been associated with the side’s ‘beautiful’ fanbase and for having the opportunity to present an entertaining brand of football to them.

Kerala, on Wednesday, parted ways with the Dutchman and appointed Kibu Vicuna as the new head coach for the upcoming season.

Schattorie was the head coach of the Kochi-based club for Hero ISL 2019-20. Even though Kerala finished seventh, he found a lot of admirers among the fanbase for the attacking and free-flowing style he implemented. Kerala’s tally of 29 goals in Hero ISL 2019-20 was the highest the club has ever registered in any single season of the Hero ISL. It was also the fourth highest goals tally by any team for the 2019-20 season.

“I am disappointed. I really wanted to finish what we started in Kerala. Sadly, it didn’t happen but I am 100% sure that I was the right person to finish the job. People might say that we finished seventh and I take full responsibility. However, there were several small factors which made it impossible to qualify for the semi-finals,” Schattorie stated in a recent interview with a football-centric social media channel.

“Only future can say what happens but I wish Kerala all the best. It was a sad separation for me. I love my job and was disappointed, but life goes on. I am looking at a few clubs in Europe. We’ll see what happens” he later added, delving deeper into where his future lies."

Looking back at the fonder memories with Kerala, Schattorie noted, “The Kerala fanbase was beautiful. The opening match, we had a full stadium and that’s what football is all about. I am happy I was part of the club. Hopefully, I could give them some good football they enjoyed.”

“I got a lot of messages from the fans (after the news of my departure was announced). It was heart-warming that a lot of them wanted me to stay even after we couldn’t qualify for the semis,” he added.

Addressing the expansive style of play he implemented at Kerala last season, Schattorie opined, “I always have the same philosophy – dominate. But with what system you do that depends on the quality of the team you have. Kerala scored more goals this season in any of the previous seasons. So, we somewhat succeeded in doing that. However, we let in too many goals too. There were various reasons behind that and of course injuries didn’t help.”

The Dutchman also dropped a note of appreciation for the players in the squad and said, “The dressing room was good. The fighting spirit was always there and you don’t get that if the dressing room isn’t good. The attitude and atmosphere was always good. Rahul KP and Samuel Lalmuanpuia are two players I would love to work with in the future. I will also be keenly following Jeakson Singh’s progression.”

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