Schattorie concerned by squad’s strength ahead of facing Mumbai City FC

NorthEast United FC are in the ‘city of dreams’ to take on Mumbai City FC on Wednesday knowing that a defeat could have massive implications on their playoff ambitions. The Highlanders have struggled for form of late, winning just one of their last seven matches in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 league campaign.

Eelco Schattorie, the NorthEast boss, addressed the media at his pre-match press conference. He began by giving his views on the undesirable slump in his team’s form. Stating that he didn’t agree with the assessment, he said: “I find it unbelievable that we have been off-track. We lost only two times this season. It’s similar to Jamshedpur FC, who had a lot of draws. They are also still on top of their game.”

“There’s also something in football called quality, the depth of squad. I think we played good football against Bengaluru FC and Delhi Dynamos FC, created a lot of chances. If we are off track, we can’t create those chances,” he said.

The Dutchman concluded the narrative by stating, “One thing is for sure, all those games we drew, there are certain issues that doesn’t allow us to play with our strongest possible 11. That’s an issue I’m facing. I lost my goalkeeper. Before that I lost Mislav Komorski, my center-back, for the rest of the season. And that has a huge influence.”

Schattorie then, had his say on whether he thought the Mumbai encounter had come at the right time for his team given the Islanders’ recent results. Agreeing with the questioner, he said, “It could be. It could be very relevant. In the last two matches, they lost their main striker once and their main winger once. It had influence on their game because their game is very predictable. I know exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. But we have our problems to deal with. Its going to be a difficult game.”

The Highlanders boss also provided an injury update on his squad ahead of tomorrow’s fixture. “My goalkeeper. TP Rehenesh is injured. Komorski, my center back is out. These are the main injuries. Then I have two or three players who are not fully match-fit, but that doesn’t have an influence on the basic 11,” he said.

The 47-year-old ended his pre-match briefing by picking out the key to Mumbai City FC’s team. “I don’t think you have to be a football professor to understand the dynamics in football. The speed of the two main strikers and the main threat from the left side is Rafael Bastos. (Paulo) Machado also. Those are generally very predictable patterns. To eliminate them is not easy,” concluded Schattorie.

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