Eelco Schattorie: Continuous changes making my job tougher

Kerala Blasters FC’s final Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) encounter of the 2019 calendar year will be against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. Winless since the season opener, the Blasters will be hoping to end the year on a high, although that’ll be a task easier said than done because even the Highlanders would be raring to go after hitting a rough patch.

Ahead of facing his old club, Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie commented that he wasn’t under any sort of pressure and was only thinking about his own team. “You can’t deny that when you play against your old club, it gives a certain dynamic. But to be honest, I’m pretty emotionless regarding that because I am only focusing on our team at the moment,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“The thing that we have to focus on as a team is to try and bounce back from the last game. They have only won twice. They have lost their last two games. Hopefully, that is an advantage for us. They are a little bit down as well. We play in our home ground and hopefully, we are a little bit lucky,” he added.

The 48-year-old then went on to highlight the reason behind his team’s defeat in the last match against Chennaiyin. He said, “If I look back, I think we had a little bit of stability, especially in the midfield. There was a little bit of stability with Cido (Sergio Cidoncha), who had to play in a retreated role. But he was growing there. After Jamshedpur game, Cido had to go out and Mario (Arques) came back in the team. He hadn’t played for a long team. Last week he played his second game. His combination with Jeakson (Singh) is something that has to grow again.”

“When you are losing, you need to have mental strength. That is also part of football. I always tell the players that when things don’t go the way you want, two things are important: being tough mentally and physically. Last week that was not there. And the second thing is that you have to stick together. You need to try to get a result in order to get some confidence. Individually, some players have made good improvements. But there is still some part lacking. The changes don’t make it easier and it is really a tough job for me at the moment,” admitted the Dutchman.

On being asked which position he would feel satisfied in at the end of the season, Schattorie answered, “In the top four. We still need to play ATK, (FC) Goa, Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and NorthEast two times. If you win all those games, it’s possible. I really believe that if we are a bit lucky and get in the flow, then we will get there. Time is a bit against me. Fitting in the players that didn’t play for a while is not easy. You need to build connections. I still think we made progress on certain levels. I just hope that we are a bit lucky which will give us some confidence to get into a flow.”

Winger Seityasen Singh was also in attendance at the media briefing, and said, “I was injured earlier. After the injury, I found some form. Now, I’m okay and I feel good. I’m confident to play the next match.”

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