Eelco Schattorie unhappy with Mumbai's time wasting, Jorge Costa content with team's aggression
Written by: Neil Talnikar
The Islanders broke the hosts’ five-game unbeaten streak with the win in Guwahati.
It was a tense fixture at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati as North East United slumped to a 0-1 defeat at home against Mumbai City. The result brought a heartbreaking end to The Highlanders’ five-game unbeaten streak. Arnold Issoko’s chested goal in the fourth minute of the game was everything the Islanders needed to seal the three points.
With the defeat, NorthEast stay in fifth place, equal on points with fourth-placed Jamshedpur. While Mumbai surge forward to the third place, equal on points with second-placed Bengaluru FC and table-toppers FC Gia
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Watch: NorthEast United 0-1 Mumbai City FC highlights
Talking to the media after the game NorthEast head coach Eelco Schattorie expressed his disappointment at his team’s first defeat of the season. The Dutchman was not happy with the referee’s decision to allow Mumbai’s goal, which in his view shouldn’t have been. “First of all, I don’t like to talk about referees, but they are a part of the game. It’s difficult to just say ‘forget about it, it’s not important, they're just doing their job.’”
“Yesterday night, Goa’s winning goal (against Delhi Dynamos) was 100% offside and today’s goal, I have to see on video, but I’m almost 99% sure that it was a handball and should have been given as a foul,” he added.
The 46-year-old went on to speak about how his team did their best to produce a result, but unfortunately, it couldn’t happen. “So, that was really painful and we have to accept it, but we tried to do everything to do our job. I think we had a lot of chances and the goalkeeper was the Man of the Match. That obviously means that he saved a lot of shots.”
“There was only one team who tried to play football, who tried to go forward. When I compare my team with Mumbai in terms of opportunities, including the bench, I think there was only one team who took them and won the game and for all it is a very very painful loss.”
Asked about how Mumbai City’s tactical game affected his team selection Schattorie said, “I had to play the holding midfielder (Jose Leudo) as the centre-back because Provat Lakra had an injury and I took a big risk in taking him on the bench. So, I had really no option and they [Mumbai] used their physicality to rule the midfield. Still we had to play the game and we did create enough chances to score, but their goalkeeper did really well.”
What the former East Bengal coach found particularly annoying was the time-wasting methods that Mumbai used. “It was almost like they died on the field. I remember my days in the I-League and it seems like the tradition has been kept going. I don’t want to speak with disrespect, but it was too much.”
When asked about the mood in the dressing room after the unbeaten streak was broken and how the loss has changed the situation the Highlanders' tactician answered, “We have six games in our hands and nothing is really lost, but the way we lost is painful. The players must play hard. We now have two days off and I hope that we get our bad feeling away. But, I think overall we tried everything good. I even tried playing three defenders and five midfielders and tried to push, but we weren’t lucky.”
Asked about why he chose to play Pawan Kumar as the keeper despite having TP Rehenesh, who is more experienced Schattorie said, “Why would we change the goalkeeper when Pawan played well in the last few games. You shouldn’t change the goalkeeper more and also you have to give somebody a chance to grow. In the first game, Rehenesh also made some mistakes. In my opinion, it is not good to change the goalkeeper always and if one plays well, then he should get a chance. I don’t think it was the keeper’s mistake that influenced our loss.”
As for Jorge Costa, he has worked with Jose Mourinho before and when asked whether the Portuguese has had an influence on his philosophy he answered, “A lot. I had an opportunity to play with very good coaches and I learnt a lot from them. Also, with some coaches, I learnt what not to do in football. But, the story finishes here and I’m not a copy of anyone.”
Furthermore, he was asked whether the hard tackling that was done by his team in the game was a part of the plan to which he answered, “I don’t think we played that hard. This is not in my opinion. It wasn’t the plan, but when you play football. You have contact and you have to be aggressive in a good way and fortunately, my team has that positive aggression.”
Mumbai were pretty strong in defence and Costa went on to speak about how the opposition had more chances and more possession than his team. But, he insisted that his side had more chances to score in the first half. According to him, during the first five minutes of the second half too, they had three clear chances to score. “So yes, defensive, I’m very happy. Offensive, happy because we tried, but to be honest, it was a good finish to the game.