Eelco Schattorie: We got it spot on defensively

Kerala Blasters FC did the double over ATK FC in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 after beating them 1-0 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. With the three points, the Eelco Schattorie-coached club is now within four points of the top four and are in a position to mount a serious challenge for a spot in the semi-finals.

At the post-match press conference, Kerala head coach Schattorie praised his defence and said, “The situation that we were in, before the game started, was very difficult. I lost Gianni (Zuiverloon), who came back from injury only last week. But defensively, we were spot on. ATK had a few chances but, overall, we frustrated them. We got a good goal. We could have had another one. But at this stage, only the three points matter to get close to the top four.”

Schattorie, however, admitted it was a tough contest and praised his players’ grit and determination to secure the important result. “I had a tactical plan, which, in the end, players had to execute. But in two or three positions, we still lack a certain quality. The team spirit and fighting spirit was there to win us the three points. I like to play football. I like to dominate. That was not the case today, but I know the reason why. Defensively the organization was good, and it gave us the three points,” he said.

Sharing his opinion on Halicharan Narzary, who grabbed the all-important winner, Schattorie maintained, “I remember the first two games of the season where Hali was playing. He didn’t play well at that time. Since during that period, we were struggling on the wings. But I am happy he gave an assist last game. I am happy he scored today.”

With regards to the performance of Abdul Hakku and Mohamad Rakip, two defenders who impressed on the night, Schattorie commented, “Today he (Hakku) did great. I want more from him on the ball. But defensively, he did his job and that is more important. Rakip is very young. Last week he made a mistake, but he has the passion to compete. But on the ball, they need to grow. But it takes time.”

Sahal Abdul Samad and Jeakson Singh were both unused subs on the night. Illustrating his long-term plans involving the duo, the Dutchman noted, “He (Sahal) is improving. He is working very hard. I had a few conversations with him. We are both on the same lines. He understands better what I want from him. It’s the same thing with Jeakson Singh. With young talent, you need to be patient. I have a good track record with working with talent and bringing them to a level.”

Read the Match Report here.

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