Eelco Schattorie: We have to find solutions

Kerala Blasters FC take on Jamshedpur FC looking to win just their second game in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Kerala are yet to beat Jamshedpur since the latter’s inception in the Hero ISL, but the away side will look to take advantage of the home team’s defensive woes.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, head coach Eelco Schattorie spoke about the many late goals scored this season, “This has a lot to do with the quality of the teams. One of the first things and even during the team meetings what I keep on repeating is that the team needs to make sure not to concede goals during set-pieces. Last year, my team (NorthEast United FC) had the best set-piece record defensively. This year, some things can be done but it can get mismatched. We have to find solutions.”

“I tell my players to be smart and strong, be a bit wicked and meaner, have some street smartness. If we have to defend against someone stronger than you then you have to find different ways. There is no straight solution for it. We are doing everything we can to organise ourselves. The players need to get a quick picture of the situation and react accordingly. I have a young team and they will grow into it,” the Dutchman added.

Schattorie had some positive news about Mario Arques but was cautious about using the former Jamshedpur player against his old club, “Mario (Arques) is fit now, but when you have a player injured for that long, the protocol is that the player has to play two or three games gradually, increasing in time. He is fit, but not match fit. Whether he will play against Jamshedpur is a decision I am yet to take. But yes, we have to take some risks. It’s a difficult situation to work with because, to be honest, I am more of a long-term thinking coach, but the good thing is that he is fit now.”

He continued, “These injury issues have two reasons. The one I can elaborate on is that if you go on a pre-season, normally you plan for a minimum of six to eight weeks. During this period, we plan the conditioning of the players. But because our pre-season got cancelled, we had to come back. This made it difficult. This allowed players to have injuries at the start of the season.”

Joining the 47-year-old gaffer was young fullback Mohamad Rakip, who was appreciative of his coaches, “I have been working hard both on and off the pitch. The coaches have been very helpful as well. I have to work hard to make sure that I play well. I think this is the reason I have been able to play regularly over the last few seasons.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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