Schattorie uncertain what to expect from unpredictable Kerala
Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 will witness David James’ Kerala Blasters FC travel to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati for an intriguing contest against NorthEast United FC on Friday. The Highlanders have been one of the surprise packages of the season, although recent results have seen them drop down to fifth in the table. However, that hasn’t affected the spirit in the squad according to their head-coach Eelco Schattorie, who attended NorthEast’s pre-match press conference and rallied his troops ahead of another crucial match.
The Dutchman was lucky enough to call on the services of most of his players in the international break as the majority of them weren’t away on national duty. Schattorie, however, refused to consider it an advantage citing that lack of national team duties was a good and bad signal at the same time. “It completely depends on how you look at it. There’s always something to find, there’s an advantage for the other team and a disadvantage for the opposite team. You can also say we had good momentum and the momentum was killed for two weeks. (Rowllin) Borges was with the national team and came back in this short period of time when he had some injuries, which I’m not happy with. So, there’s always something to find... I can even say teams who have more players in the national team have probably more quality,” Schattorie told reporters.
He continued: “So, it completely depends on how you look at it. So, I don’t see it as an advantage or disadvantage. Every team has its own problems, its own things to look at. And for us in this moment, it is that we had some injuries in the last two weeks. There were still some issues and hopefully we’ve recovered well. Hopefully we can get the momentum going from what we had before. To be honest… I think we should have had three points (in our last game) but again, that’s a part of football. There’s not anyone to blame, it’s just a personal feeling that I want to get rid off as quickly as possible. I think we should have had three points in the last game. We had two weeks to prepare with a lot of difficulties, but the good thing is that the atmosphere is good. All the players are in a good spirit and good mood.”
Schattorie also confirmed that he had a couple of injury problems to deal with. “We have one foreigner injured, he will probably not play until the end of the season. Who it is I’m not going to say now because it can be an advantage for the opponent team. We had Bart (Bartholomew Ogbeche) who had some injury, but he’s fit again. So, I’m happy that he is back. We have few Indian players injured. Overall, it is part of football. Its not something to complain about. The only difficulty and that’s just a simple fact or a simple reality, for instance is that if you are a small budget team or we don’t have a second team behind the first team then you have less options. If I see from the beginning of the season until now the amount of time I could play 11v11 is not a lot. Again, this is not a complain. These are just simple facts. The good thing for us is that we have good spirit and good characters who want to work together,” he said.
When asked to assess Kerala Blasters, the Dutchman didn’t hide his uncertainty. “The thing that really stands out is that they had a lot of changes in the team. The last game I think they had four or five changes from the game before. The wingers change a lot. I think it is a very unpredictable team. Their strength in my opinion is that they are somehow a little bit opportunistic. That means, I know from last season, (Seiminlen) Doungel was with our team, they have good dribblers. It means they can play with the long ball. It means they are an unpredictable team. Defensively they have some weaknesses which I’m not going to address. I studied the team well, but I think it’s going to be difficult game because they also need to win. Their best record is also in away games. They have more points away than at home. So, if you ask me what to expect, its very difficult to say.”
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