Schattorie: Proud of what the boys did
Two quick-fire Messi Bouli strikes helped Kerala Blasters FC come from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. The Blasters looked to be heading towards defeat when former striker, CK Vineeth doubled the visitors’ lead in the 71st minute. However, a brace from Bouli helped claw back the deficit and ensured Eelco Schattorie’s side took something out of the fixture.
While speaking at his post-match press conference, the Dutchman and Blasters head coach revealed some of the tough decisions he had to take before heading into the encounter, he said, “The last three games, we built a little bit of confidence in the way we played. In the build-up (to today’s match), I took a big risk by putting Mario (Arques) in the midfield. The connection with Jeakson (Singh) was not good. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. But it is a matter of growing into that connection.”
“On top of that, in the game against (FC) Goa, Cido (Sergio Cidoncha) was hit three times from left to right on his ankle. Today it was a big risk playing him and I’m afraid he will miss the next game. In the first half, I was not happy with the football. We lost too many balls. In the second half, it was a bit better. I don’t think Jamshedpur had many chances.”
Elaborating further, Kerala boss expressed his pride at the performance of his players. “They scored two goals. Normally, the morale would go down and players give up. With 15 minutes to go, I made two changes where I went with three defenders, and that completely changed the game. Sahal (Abdul Samad) came inside and did really well. Samuel (Lalmuanpuia) did fantastic and then we scored two goals. To come back from 2-0, it is for me a huge positive. I told the players that we will get there. Teams should prepare themselves when we have everybody fit. Most likely Bart (Bartholomew Ogbeche) will be back for the next game. So, I’m proud of what the boys did.”
The 47-year-old then revealed that some of his players arrived in pre-season with injuries, which made his job more difficult. “I just want to do my job as good as possible. The club is doing their best. A few players arrived with injuries. Mario arrived with an injury. Jairo (Rodrigues) arrived with an injury. Sandesh (Jhingan), when he came back from the national team, was also not fit. That was my backline. The keeper (TP Rehenesh) was unlucky in the first two games, he got injured. I have 25 years’ experience and I have never experienced such a situation. It is completely new for me.”
Finally, Schattorie felt he deserved more credit for keeping the Blasters competitive even with the magnitude of injuries he’s faced. “Last week against Mumbai, in the first half, we completely outplayed them. The last part is to go forward that is always the most difficult part. If I look from the beginning of the season till now, so it’s eight games now, there is progression individually. There is progression on how I like to play. But in the end, it is about building relationships. If that keeps changing, it makes it difficult. I’m doing a really good job,” he said.
Read the Match Report here.