The Highlanders are currently on top of the table while the Men of Steel are in fourth position.
Guwahati witnessed an action packed 1-1 stalemate at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Sarusajai on Friday evening, as NorthEast United held visitors Jamshedpur FC to a draw, even after the hosts were reduced to 10-men just before the interval. Both sides kept their unbeaten records intact and the ISL points table ticking.
The Highlanders’ gaffer Eelco Schattorie displayed mixed emotions after the match, as his side managed to swim ashore with a point despite playing the second half a man down. “I can sum up the game in two ways – very happy with the point, especially after that red card everybody worked as hard as possible to get that result. Could’ve been even three points if you ask me, if we hadn’t given that ball away, that’s one. Two, totally not happy with the way we played today.”
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Watch: NorthEast United 1-1 Jamshedpur
He elaborated on his point expressing his displeasure about a few players not being able to stand up and respond to the situation. “Before the game, in the week’s training, I was little curious about two to three players, about how they would do in the current situation. When they (Jamshedpur FC) were pressing us we didn’t know how to deal with that, that’s something I don’t like. You need to have the confidence, When a team presses you, you need to know how to get out of that. When you start hiding, you get the pressure on you and then the game will change and with that part I’m totally not happy.”
“But that’s a process, we weren’t under much pressure during our games. Except for the opening game against Goa and this team today, they pressed us and I think we should do that better. Eventually, get a result and still being unbeaten is very good for the team morale”, he continued.
The Dutch tactician also admitted his ignorance about the rule of not being able to bring in an extra foreigner after a foreigner is red carded. “To be honest, it seems I think I didn’t do my homework properly. My team manager warned me against that just in time. If that is the rule we’ll have to stick by it.”
On being asked about the positives he can take from the game the Highlanders boss said, “My striker scored. As a team, we worked hard for the result. Two to three players, especially Redeem (Tiaang), Nikhil (Kadam), who are used to playing only in the I-League and weren’t upto the mark last week, looked better tonight. Bit by bit, we try to become stable.”
“I always like to build a stable side. But, now we are forced to make some changes following the suspensions. From one side, its good that other players get a chance, but you never know how its going to work out. That’s part of football,” Schattorie concluded.
Jamshedpur FC’s head coach Cesar Ferrando too, rhymed similar emotions as his NEUFC counterpart after the 1-1 draw. “I am happy with the score, but not with our performance. But, that’s how it is. Our centre-backs weren’t upto their task, allowing room for free runs. They can score when they want. So definitely, I am not happy. If you work you can make mistakes, we are professionals we can’t make mistakes.”
Responding to questions about the home side’s performance in the second half following that red card the Spaniard said, “They didn’t have the same level on the attacking front in the second half. In the second half, we tried to play faster than them, but we lost possession. We slowed down, played wide, it was very difficult, we have to improve this.”
The former Athletico Madrid manager also explained the idea behind his frequent team reshuffle. “I have a squad and they have to be motivated. I need all the players and they must be ready to play. We have had four continuous matches in a row. We need to rest sometimes and keep the level.”