Eelco Schattorie: Top four race is still wide open

Kerala Blasters FC will be looking for their first-ever win over Jamshedpur FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) when they face the Jharkhand-based side at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Sunday. With back-to-back wins in their last two outings, Kerala have given themselves a fighting chance to break into the top four of the Hero ISL 2019-20 table and a win on Sunday will go a long way in helping their cause.

At the pre-match press conference, Kerala head coach Eelco Schattorie was asked about his opinion on his team’s top four chances. “I think the top four race is still wide open. The teams above us will drop points and the table is very congested. But I don’t focus on the top four. Now, my focus is Jamshedpur and then, the game after that against FC Goa and then the one against Chennaiyin FC. We will take it game by game and hopefully get three points from each of them. I am not looking at the fourth spot for now,” he responded.

Further illustrating his answer, the Dutchman added, “In football, or in life, I don’t believe in looking at things too far ahead. You can’t control that. You can only control what you are facing today. You can, of course, think a little ahead but I don’t do that. I focus on what we are doing now. Where we get to at the end of the season, we will see.”

Asked about his impressions of the inaugural Hero ISL Club Coaches’ Forum, which was conducted in Mumbai this Monday, Schattorie noted, “I think I said at the beginning of this season that coaches should meet twice in a season to evaluate what can be improved. Only the coaches can have an objective view on that. Anyone outside the field, can have ideas or feelings but its always good to take feedback from people who are working on the ground. It’s true for any profession. It’s good that they organized the meeting. It was very positive.”

On injuries, the 48-year-old confirmed that there were a few concerns but refused to divulge any more details.

The gaffer was joined by Cameroonian striker Raphael Messi Bouli at the briefing. The 27-year-old credited the entire team for Kerala’s recent upturn in fortunes and said, “We play as a team. The last two games, we played well. We have to work hard to improve. The most important thing for us is the team.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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