The Kerala Blasters head coach insisted that the team’s morale is high despite results not going their way.

Kerala Blasters are set to host bottom-placed Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League, in what will be their first game of the calendar year on Sunday. A win at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi will see the Yellow Army go level on points with seventh-placed NorthEast United. Ahead of the game, head coach Eelco Schattorie addressed the media in a pre-match press conference.

The Dutchman began proceedings by conceding that he is yet to have his full squad fit, but refused to reveal who the injured players were. “I wish! but that’s not the case, no,” he said.

On Morale Of The Team

Kerala Blasters began their league campaign with a win against ATK, but are yet to win a game since. The Kochi-based outfit played nine games following their win against the Kolkata side and have lost four of them while drawing five. When quizzed regarding the morale in the team in such dire situation, Eelco Schattorie insisted that the spirit is still high among the players.

“I think morale always goes down if the players do not believe in what the coach is doing. I think that is totally not the case and if things are not going your way, then it is the job of the coach to come up with tactics, with a plan and if a coach does not have these answers, then I’m sure players will have less belief and will give less intensity in the game. Till now that isn’t the case,” the Blasters head coach explained.

On The Hyderabad FC Game

On Sunday, Kerala Blasters will be playing the only team below them in the standings. A win for Hyderabad will see them go level on points with Kerala Blasters at the bottom of the pile. Speaking on the game, Eelco Schattorie admitted that he prefers to play a team above his side in the table than the one below them.

“We keep going. I keep working hard every day to get those results, starting with tomorrow. It’s going to be a very, very difficult game. I would rather play Bengaluru or Goa tomorrow than the team below you because it brings certain dynamics with you. We have to play them anyway, so we are going to go all-out and especially in a home game to try to give a good result like we did all the other games,” the 48-year-old quipped.

On January Transfer Window

The January transfer window has opened and ISL clubs can now sign players. However, Eelco Schattorie has revealed that Kerala Blasters are in a difficult situation to land new players.

“That is another thing I really have to say to the club. They are really trying to make a transition. That means, last season they had to put seven foreign players out, brought in seven new players. To bring in more players now, it is very difficult and I totally understand that situation. We will work with what we have,” Eelco Schattorie concluded.

Head-to-Head

Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC met for the first time in November this season and it was the latter who came out victorious.

Team News

Foreign centre-back Gianni Zuiverloon could return to the starting XI on Sunday, but Raju Gaikwad and Rahul KP are injured, while there are concerns over Mario Arques’ availability as well.

Predicted Lineup

Rehenesh; Rakip, Zuiverloon, Drobarov, Jessel; Moustapha, Jeakson, Cidoncha, Seityasen, Prasanth; Ogbeche.

Broadcast

This fixture will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network from 7:30 PM IST on Sunday. It can also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.