Eelco Schattorie: Will play the best possible starting XI

Kerala Blasters FC are all set to take on Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. Kerala, who have been ruled out of the top-four race, will be looking to win for pride at home against the defending champions, who, on their part, have secured semi-final qualification for the third consecutive season.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, head coach Eelco Schattorie gave his views on facing Bengaluru, “I played Bengaluru four times last season. Won once, drew twice and lost twice. I know how to beat them. I know their tactics and where their weaknesses are. They are a top team in this league. They are structurally strong and always have the right formula. They are mentally strong. They have physical power and have scored the highest amount of goals from set-pieces and that’s an added quality. All credit goes to their coach.”

Thereafter, the Dutchman spoke about the progress of players in his team, especially Jessel Carneiro, “We worked on many players individually through the season, but I think Jessel stands out. He has the basic qualities. He learned fast and quick. He is fit and has a few assists as well. He has a fantastic personality, so he has made a lot of progress.”

Among the foreigners, he spoke highly of Sergio Cidoncha as well, “We have Cido, who came in from Jamshedpur. He has made a lot of progress. He has shifted from his usual position on the wing to a central midfield position.”

When asked whether he would field a younger team now that his side have been ruled out of the top four, the head coach said, “I put the line ups that give me the best possible chance of winning. We are not here for charity. We are not giving people chances for the sake of giving chances. We are playing professional football, and I want to win.”

Reiterating the importance of winning their remaining two matches, Schattorie stated, “We have two matches and we need to win both. I always go for the win with whatever team is available. I’m a very sore loser. So, we need to get the three points in both the games. Having said that, since we cannot qualify for the top four anymore, then we have to depend on the motivation of the players. I am very happy to have a captain beside me who has helped keep up this motivation in the dressing room. Rest assured, I will do everything I can to get the three points in the next two matches.”

Joining his head coach was skipper Bartholomew Ogbeche, who was appreciative of his teammates’ efforts in his successful goal-scoring record this season, “It’s because of my teammates that I am able to get on the scoresheet more often. But my season isn’t over yet. At the end of the day, we are disappointed that we will not be able to make it to the top four.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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