Schattorie demands consistency from his players

Eelco Schattorie’s Kerala Blasters will be hoping to build on their opening day success when they host Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Thursday. Despite conceding early in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season opener against ATK, the Blasters fought back to claim all three points, showcasing tremendous character and belief in themselves.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the fixture, Schattorie took stock of his team's performance from the last match and said, "A team is all about consistency and building relationships. We had a very difficult pre-season. We won the last game, which is a top result. We wkeraon against a good team. We had a very difficult pre-season, especially at centre-back and midfield, we didn’t build any relationships and consistency. Sahal was away for four weeks. We lost Sandesh (Jhingan) and our other two centre-backs got injuries.”

“You will never see me make a lot of changes. I like to build consistency and if somebody is not doing well, he will be replaced by someone who is next in line to get a chance. It’s all about trying to build relationships. The one who performs best in training, will get a chance. I like consistency,” he added.

The Dutchman fielded Bilal Khan in goal against ATK, who had a shaky start to life in the Hero ISL. Addressing his goalkeeping choices, Schattorie said, "TP (Rehenesh) is my number one goalkeeper simply because he has the most experience. All three of my goalkeepers (Rehenesh, Bilal and Shibinraj Kunniyil) have my full confidence. Unfortunately, TP got injured. The next one in line was Bilal because Shibinraj also had an injury."

"Both keepers (Bilal and Shibinraj) need support, need time. That is something we will work on, the goalkeeping coach conducts video sessions every day and talks to them. These things will take time," he added.

The 47-year-old then ruled out Mario Arques, who sustained an injury in the match against ATK, from the Mumbai fixture, later going on to state, “Mario, unfortunately, has an injury. How long it is going to take to heal is not determined yet. We will get the result of the scan today. Mario arrived on the first day with an injury. We tried to get him fit as quickly as possible, which unfortunately didn’t work out.”

Revealing his reluctance to use the Spaniard in the ATK fixture, Schattorie said, “Even in the last game I was hesitating to put him in because his fitness level was not on par. But in the last game, towards the end, Jeakson (Singh) and Cido (Sergio Cidoncha) were struggling a little bit. So, you want fresh players. That is why Sahal (Abdul Samad) came on and also Mario. Mario, right away, changed the game - you could see that. There was a very positive impact. We are going to do everything we can to help him recover quickly.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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