Eelco Schattorie: Have to do the best with what we got

Kerala Blasters FC host Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday. Kerala are currently ninth in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 standings, while their opponents on the night are placed one spot below them, at the bottom of the table. Eelco Schattorie’s men are also winless in nine matches and will be desperate to end the unflattering run on Sunday.

At the pre-match press conference, the Kerala head coach was asked about the morale of the team, given their current circumstances. “From experience, I think the morale of a team only goes down when the players don’t believe in what the coach is doing. I believe that is not the case here. If things are not going your way, it’s the job of the coach to come up with the tactics or a plan. If a coach doesn’t have these answers, I am sure the players will have less belief and will give less intensity in games. But it’s not the case,” Schattorie responded.

“If you see from the beginning, we have had issues in the 10 games and there’s been a problems in creating consistency and getting results. When you have four-five players out, it’s difficult to win but you are expected to. Yes, and that’s what we try to do every time. We have played 10 matches so far and there were two or three occasions where we could have gotten three points but didn’t. If we had these points, we would have had a little more confidence and would have been in a flow,” he added, summing up Kerala’s season so far.

Schattorie, however, reiterated that he was cautious going into Sunday’s fixture, given the visible improvements in Hyderabad’s performance levels lately. “If you see Mumbai, they had injuries at the beginning but they got everybody back, had a little luck and got into a flow. Hyderabad are somewhat in a similar situation. They had a lot of injuries at the beginning of the season but last two or three games, they had their full squad and you can see that they are improving. That makes a difference. The coming match will be a very difficult game. I would rather play a Bengaluru or Goa on Sunday than the team below us because of certain dynamics. We still have to play. It’s a home game for us and we will try to get a good result,” the Dutchman noted.

Addressing the work at hand, the 48-year-old stated, “I have heard people say that we are playing a lot of back passes and playing in our own half but that’s not true. If you see, we have been playing a lot of crosses and you can’t play crosses from your own half. I will admit, the quality of the crosses haven’t been up to the mark. It’s something we have to work on. The attitude of players have been positive so I haven’t had to do anything extra regarding that.”

Asked if he had plans to strengthen in the January transfer window, he said, “The club is trying to transition. It’s difficult now to bring in new players and I completely understand that. Also, new players will also need time to adjust to the league and playing style. We have to do the best with what we got to get the results and make it to the semis.”

Schattorie also confirmed that his squad had certain injury concerns going into Sunday’s game but refused to give out any names.

Speaking of injuries, one player who is expected to be back in the fray after a lengthy spell on the sidelines is Gianni Zuiverloon. The Dutch defender, who accompanied Schattorie to the briefing, said, “It’s really frustrating. You always want to play as a professional footballer. This league is not so long. When you have an injury like I had and get sidelined for almost eight weeks, it’s really frustrating, especially since we were not getting the results we wanted.”

“I think we had bad luck. We are not supposed to be where we are right now. When everyone is fit, we have one of the best teams. Now we have eight finals to go. We have been talking about this,” the 33-year-old added, stressing the importance of getting results in each of their remaining eight fixtures.

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