Costa reflects on ‘fair’ result as Schattorie accepts responsibility for loss

Mumbai City FC began their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 campaign with a win over Kerala Blasters on Thursday night. New signing, Amine Chermiti struck eight minutes from full-time to hand the Islanders all three points at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. It was a tight fixture with both sides failing to make the most out of their opportunities until Chermiti connected with a Sauvik Chakrabarti cross deep into the second half.

Following the victory, the Islanders boss, Jorge Costa attended the post-match press conference and weighed in with his views on the game. He said, “I think we played a wonderful game. From what I remember of the game, we had more of the ball, we had more opportunities to score and we did our job.”

The Portuguese coach then insisted that the result was even more significant considering the loss of Mato Grgic and Paulo Machado towards the end of the first-half due to injuries. “We lost two players, two important players. But we still scored and in the last minute, they had a huge opportunity to finish the game 1-1. But if I remember, it was the only opportunity they had in the game. So, I think it’s a fair result, and it’s very important.”

When asked to explain Modou Sougou’s absence from the starting line-up, Costa stated, “Sougou was injured for a long time. He is coming back from an injury. I have 25 players and I trust all of them. Next game in Chennai, I don’t know what will happen. Today it was the first game and I had the support of the dressing room. One thing is sure, we will be there to fight for the three points as always.”

Blasters boss, Eelco Schattorie, meanwhile, accepted full responsibility for the loss and said, “I take full responsibility for the loss. I made two perfect changes and my third change was not a good change. I was hesitating to make that substitution. My other two changes were perfect. Messi (Bouli) changed the game. (Rahul) KP changed the game. Overall, before the game, I would have signed up for a point.”

Counting the injury problems plaguing his side as an unwanted distraction, Schattorie said, “We have a lot of problems regarding my left centre-back (Jairo Rodrigues). He played with two injections. My other centre-back (Gianni Zuiverloon) is not fully fit. The fluidity was not there. We didn’t play the football that I like to play. But I give the boys full compliments for wanting to fight. They still want to go forward. It’s a very painful loss. I went for the three points in the end, but that cost me.”

Finally, the Dutchman extended his support to Bilal Husain Khan, who once again had an uncertain night between the Blasters posts. “He is a giant, a mountain at the back. If a player needs to play, I give him full confidence. He is with the team and you support everybody. The problem is Shibinraj (Kunniyil) and Bilal have never had any goalkeeping coach before. I think (tonight was) a good experience for him,” said the 47-year-old.

Read the Match Report here.

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