Schattorie: Michael Soosairaj is among the best goal-scorers in India

Former Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie heaped praise on Michael Soosairaj and Bengaluru FC’s Ashique Kuruniyan in an interview with khelnow.com. During the interview, the Dutchman also shared his views on what he perceives as the national team’s attacking weaknesses and hailed the goal-scoring ability of a few of his former players.

“Michael Soosairaj is one of the best goal-scorers that I have seen in India actually. He has a very good feeling to score goals. (In addition to this) Rowllin Borges can score goals. Rahul KP was playing with me (for Kerala Blasters FC) and he has goal-scoring abilities as well. I have to see if Ashique Kuruniyan’s scoring ability is good but I am sure he could also play as a striker. I am sure there are combinations that you can try that could bring more surprises than you think,” Schattorie explained.

The Blue Tigers had found it difficult to score goals in the FIFA and AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic enforced lockdown that halted action. Furthermore, Sunil Chhetri’s regular strike partner Jeje Lalpekhlua was sidelined due to an injury for most of last season and that didn’t help India’s cutting edge in the attacking final third either.

“Up front, you only have Chhetri, who scores goals. But he cannot do that alone. So, I will choose an extra striker besides him, and midfielders you have a lot in India. Within that system, you can still play attacking football,” the Dutchman said.

While giving an insight into the tactics used by national team head coach Igor Stimac, Schattorie said, “There are enough teams in the league that play possession-based football. So, I don’t see that as a problem. It doesn’t matter which system you play. I played almost all systems in my career and in each system you can play attacking or more ball-possession based football. I think Stimac is good for that, as in what he wants. But, I will not do that in a formation that they do it now.”

“If the national team wants to succeed to reach the World Cup, then you have to be realistic about ‘how are we going to reach that goal?’ To have that goal is good. Igor needs to find out a system that is suitable for India and where you can get a result. I will, most of the time play with five defenders, three midfielders and two strikers,” the 48-year-old shared.

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