Schattorie: We were a bit lucky but hardly gave away chances

Kerala Blasters FC recorded their first-ever win over Bengaluru FC in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) history, beating them 2-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. They initially went behind but showed resilience and spirit to fight their way back to earn three points. With that win, they now go up to seventh in the Hero ISL 2019-20 table.

At the post-match press conference, Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie analysed the game and said, “Last season, I played Bengaluru four times. One win, one draw and they got away two times. This season, when we played there (in Bengaluru), it was a bit even. They scored from a set-piece. But overall, I know where their weaknesses are.”

“The tactic which I wanted to do was working. But in the end, the finishing and the final goal was not always there. Messi (Bouli) had a good header and a good shot. The tactical part, in the end, players have to do. They kept believing in it. We dropped back but always forced them back. In this game, we were a little bit lucky. But overall, we created a lot of good chances. Messi could have scored two times. In the end, I am happy with the three points. We hardly gave any chances away,” he added.

The Dutchman also revealed his worry coming into the fixture. “Before the game, I was a bit scared of the ball they play behind the defence because Bilal (Khan) is not a keeper who covers that space really well. Unfortunately, they scored like that. It is mentally difficult. He recovered fantastically. He is still young and doesn’t have too much experience. So, compliments to him,” he stated.

Moving further, the 48-year-old pointed to the lack of stability at the back as a key reason behind his team’s disappointing show this season. He opined, “Any team that finishes high have two things; they have someone who can score goals and someone who saves goals at the back. Most top teams who are at the top of the table have both. For us, the keepers have made huge errors this season. If a striker upfront scores goals, you stay in the race. But at the end, to really finish it off, you need consistency.”

Lastly, the Blasters head coach felt playing on the wings was a good way for midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad to gain experience. He commented, “It’s (playing on the wings) a fantastic way to get experience on this level. I really wish people around him protected him a little bit more. I fully believe in him. The intuition is there. It just takes time. I will do anything I can to help. Today he did fantastic work. He had one really good chance to score. I come from a country where we work with talent and playing on the wings is a really good way to work your way in, because in the midfield it is more difficult.”

Read the Match Report here.

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