Schattorie salutes young stars, Gombau laments poor showing

Kerala Blasters FC failed to make their home advantage count after being held to a 0-0 draw by Odisha FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Constant injuries throughout the fixture hampered its flow with neither being able to seize control of the ball for long periods. Having gained one point from the stalemate, both sides are now on four points after four games.

After the match, both coaches spoke at the post-match press conference to share their opinions on the draw. Blasters head coach, Eelco Schattorie revealed his pride at the performance of his players. “Looking at the game today, I don’t think Odisha had one chance, if I’m correct. We had some patches of decent football. (Abdul) Hakku came inside. In the pre-season he didn’t do well. I also discussed it with him. He wasn’t on the bench few times, but he did really well (today). He stepped up. Overall, I’m very happy with the point and very proud of the players.”

Addressing the recurrent injuries which are plaguing his side, the Dutchman said, “Jairo (Rodrigues), it was his fourth game now where he played with an injection. And I said it a few times before and it’s a matter of time because we were walking on a thin line. Today in the warmup he was complaining a little bit. He started and you saw what happened, a hamstring. This is something that is from the first day of arrival in the training. He had a meniscus problem. We tried to patch it up every time.”

He added: “Messi (Bouli) was a collision. I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term injury, but I still have to get the details. That’s for the current situation as of today. On top of that, Mario Arques is also injured from the beginning of the season. He hopefully will be back in one and a half week. I am extremely proud of what the players showed today. Even if it is a point, for me it’s a victory.”

Schattorie also reserved praise for the performance of his young stars, stating, “Young players need time. Prasanth (Karuthadathkuni) did fantastic today. The deliveries are not fully good, but he recovered. (Rahul) KP is a player with fire inside. Regarding Sahal (Abdul Samad), he did fantastic today. He did really well. He stood up. He did well in all areas what he needed to. I will stand behind my players and I will give them the compliment when needed, and the criticism also when needed.”

Meanwhile, Odisha FC head coach, Josep Gombau was less than pleased with how the game panned out. “We came here to try to win the game. For me, it was a poor game of football. Both sides did not have many chances, it was a slow game. This is the kind of game that we should only get a point from and I am not satisfied with the way we played.”

With regards to the injury sustained by star striker, Aridane Santana, the Spaniard said, “It was a knock between two players, and he was taken to the hospital. He is an important player because he is our target-man. Kerala were also missing some important players. He is fine but at the moment he is under observation.”

The 43-year-old also tried to recognise the factors which made his team look average compared to the one that beat Mumbai 4-2 just over a week ago. He said, “I think that there are many factors. I think that every single pass, the way that we played was very slow. The players told me that it was very humid and they could not go faster. We lost small balls. Also, one of our builders, Marcos Tebar had an upset stomach. He could not continue. It was one of these days that nothing works. I cannot tell anyone anything because everyone put in a big effort in the game. This is what I demand from everybody as a coach.”

Read the Match Report here.

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