Schattorie: Lack of maturity costing us during set-pieces

Kerala Blasters FC travel to face Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. The Blasters are currently just a place below the Islanders in eighth spot but can go above them with three points. That, however, will hardly be easy considering the club are winless since the opening day of the season and have collected just two points from their last five matches.

At the pre-match press conference, Blasters head coach, Eelco Schattorie admitted that while the slump in form was worrying, it was only a by-product of the injuries plaguing his side. He said, “Yes, it’s a simple reality. We have played six games, and every time I have to change the line-up. Whenever we take a step forward, we take two steps back and this has a lot to do with the injuries.”

“Having said that, I still think there has been a lot of progress. We still put up a good show before the last game against Bengaluru and last week against Goa. But we can only thank ourselves for not winning that game. In the end, we have to move forward. I work with what I have. I don’t complain. I always catch the reality,” he added.

The 47-year-old then praised Mumbai’s performances so far this season, stating, “I think Mumbai is in a similar situation to us. They also had injuries even when they played against us. They lost some important players, (Rowllin) Borges, Mato (Grgic). To be honest, Mumbai play better football this season than last year. A little bit more attractive. Even in the last game, they had some nice passages of play. They were also a little bit unlucky. They have a good team. I think they can be higher (in the standings) if they had all their players fit.”

Identifying the reason why his team were conceding so many goals from set-pieces, the Dutchman said, “There’s a very interesting statistic, as in last year, I had the best defensive record in the league regarding set-pieces. I’m not doing anything different. It’s about maturity. We have young players. We are working very hard on it.”

“We try to make the players aware of their responsibilities. But in the end, a set-piece for me, is taking a quick picture about the situation and knowing what to do. Because up front, we have good organization. But sometimes in a game, things change. Which means the (opposition) could change their setup, suddenly you don’t patrol it, and then you need to react and that is experience and maturity.”

Finally, Schattorie pointed at the absence of playmaker, Mario Arques being a major contributor to his team’s failure to find the back of the net regularly this season. “In football, three elements are extremely important. One is a scoring striker, a goalkeeper who can save you, and someone who can supply.”

“The supply at the moment, is not as it should be and that has a lot to do with the absence of Mario Arques. Cido (Sergio Cidoncha) is not that specific player. He is a player who needs to be closer to the goal, but I have to withdraw him a little bit because of the injuries. We train our rotations, how to attack.”

Meanwhile, defender Raju Gaikwad, who had accompanied Schattorie at the media gathering, commented on how his side could use long throw-ins as a weapon against Mumbai. “We are working on set-pieces for a long time. In the Goa match, we scored from a throw in. We’ll be continuing this because we believe in this. Maybe, we will do it in the coming match.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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