The Kochi-based club have lost two games out of three so far in the league this season.

Kerala Blasters slumped to their second loss in a row against Hyderabad FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium, with the hosts handing the Yellow Army a 2-1 defeat. It was Kerala who opened the scoring through youngster Rahul KP in the first half. But, a penalty from Marko Stankovic and a free-kick goal from Marcelinho in the second half saw the hosts get the win.

Following the defeat in their first away game of the season, Kerala Blasters boss Eelco Schattorie addressed the media in the post-match press conference on Saturday night.

Thoughts On The Game

Schattorie, who has repeatedly said that his side is lagging behind in terms of preparation for the season, felt his team is still suffering from the lack of a proper pre-season, but lauded his players for showing desire on the pitch.

“If you have a bad pre-season you’ll run after it. There are few teams, even your team (Hyderabad FC) looks the same – have some injuries. It’s all about bringing stability. That stability from week three into pre-season till now, I didn’t find,” Schattorie began.

“I think all the players that actually worked with the group till now give full effort. There is nothing to say about how hard we work and how hard we try. But, the biggest issues, there are few things I just cannot talk about, that in the background I wish were different.”

On Injury Concerns

Kerala Blasters have been struggling with injuries this season, with Gianni Zuiverloon joining Sandesh Jhingan and Mario Arques on the sidelines. Eelco Schattorie, who is worried about the situation, expressed his concern over being forced to field players who are not fully fit in games because of a lack of other options.

“Starting on the field today, two players started with an injection. I lost another centre-back, that already I mentioned a few times in the press from the beginning of the season (that he’s) not fit. So, you walk on a thin line, that if say somebody is not fully fit you have chances of injuries. But, they have to play if you don’t have any other options,” Schattorie remarked.

“When we lost Sandesh, we brought in another player, who got into the field now – Raju (Gaikwad). Raju is only in his third week in training now. So, I am just holding my heart (thinking if) even he will get an injury. Because, if you don’t have a proper pre-season, it’s very, very difficult.”

On What Next For The Side

The Kerala Blasters head coach admitted that it is a difficult period for his side and that morale is low, but is hopeful of getting back on track after the upcoming international break. However, Blasters have a home game against Odisha before that.

“The difficult thing is, when you lose, but you worked really hard and you cannot bring stability. That’s always difficult for the morale, when you are trying to find solutions, but the solutions at the moment are not there,” the Dutchman stated.

“We just have to stick together, work very hard and try to get into the break to get some breathing space, regroup. Hopefully, after the break – well there’s going to be two difficult games (against Bengaluru FC and FC Goa). But, I cannot tell you everything that is inside of me. It’s a difficult period, that’s for sure. I’m not a very happy person at the moment.”

On Not Finishing Chances In The Second Half

Kerala had some chances to find the back of the net in the second half, but were kept out by Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh. Schattorie heaped praise on the 23-year-old, before going on to insist that the level of games in the ISL this year is lower than last year.

“I think your (Hyderabad FC’s) keeper did really well. As I said, I see now some games in the ISL. I think, Odisha, they played some decent football. All other games are on high tempo, counter-attacks. So, I think the levels of games that I saw compared to last season is lower,” Eelco Schattorie ended.

Kerala Blasters will host Odisha FC at home NEXT Friday.