Eelco Schattorie: Don’t blame anybody but need to step up mentally

Kerala Blasters FC's wait for their second win of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. Kerala are now winless in nine matches and are languishing in ninth position with just eight points from ten matches.

Speaking the post-match press conference, Kerala head coach Eelco Schattorie gave his views on the penalty which allowed their opponents to equalise, “Honestly, I don’t know whether it was a penalty or not. For me, the biggest issue is that I have to start working on the puzzle on how to win again from the next game. Raju (Gaikwad) who joined us halfway during the season because of the injury to Sandesh (Jhingan) got injured tonight. It is difficult for the players to catch up fitness wise especially if you didn’t have a proper pre-season.”

Adding to this, he spoke about his team’s frailties and said, “So, we lost Raju here and we had to shift Mouhamadou (Gning) to the defence. Mario (Arques) was also injured during the game. I think we are having a huge problem on the wings. All the wingers are underperforming. That’s why I took a bit of a risk. If you look at the statistics, we have many crosses but no end product. That has a lot to do with the wings. I don’t blame anybody, but we need to step up mentally. The players need to play with more physicality, but this is difficult keeping in mind the young age of some of the players. I am trying to stay positive, but it is hard.”

“Before every match, I can see the right attitude and positivity in my players but at the end we need to overcome the mental blockade. We have to work through the technical and physical parts to win the matches as well,” he added.

Young midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad was replaced by Raphael Messi Bouli in the 39th minute. Asked about this decision of his, the Dutchman said, “The problem for me is I don’t want to say anything about Sahal because he is a fantastic player but too many people put him on too high a position. I am the perfect person to get him at his best, but it takes time. I wanted a bit more power behind the striker that is why I introduced Messi instead. I am very happy to work with Sahal, but we need to give him time.”

Read the Match Report here.

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