The Dutchman also revealed the current status of Gianni Zuiverloon’s injury.

Ahead of Kerala Blasters‘ fourth game in the league, head coach Eelco Schattorie addressed the press on Thursday afternoon. While the club have been facing some issues off the pitch following a fallout with the GCDA (Greater Cochin Development Authority, owners of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Kochi), Eelco Schattorie has insisted that his focus is not on the external concerns, but on bringing stability to his team.

“To be honest, I don’t stay busy with these things (issues off the pitch). But, in the end it is something that, if you look at the last two season, where the team didn’t perform well. That means, when you are in a club there needs to be a certain structure in order to succeed,” Eelco Schattorie began.

“In this case, this season, we tried to rebuild. We tried to start from scratch. These things take time, but in the end, only one word always comes to mind – stability. Building stability. What happens outside the club or around the club, I don’t stay busy with. I stay busy with my team,” the Dutch tactician added.

On Defensive Frailties

Kerala Blasters have conceded at least one goal in each of their three games so far, with the total tally standing at four. However, Eelco Schattorie pointed out that the goals have come from set-pieces and individual errors that the side should have avoided.

“All four goals we conceded are from set-pieces. Not one team scored against us from open play. That brings me all the way to the Mumbai game, where from a throw-in, two players didn’t do their defensive job and that is not a blame, these are things you can avoid,” the 47-year-old explained.

“In defence, I lost, in the last game, (Gianni) Zuiverloon, who is the one who should do the build-up. So, you also lose a key player there. So, this moment is all about surviving, trying to create some stability by working hard. So, I will be happy if we survive this game with three points or maybe even one point and get into the break. In the end, Zuiverloon will be out for six weeks, maybe. It’s a serious injury,” Schattorie remarked.

On Sahal Abdul Samad

Having missed out on the starting lineup in their first two matches, Kerala Blasters star Sahal Abdul Samad made his first start against Hyderabad FC in the previous game. Although, the midfielder marked the occasion with an assist, he was taken off in the second half by Eelco Schattorie. The Dutchman explained that he is happy to have the 22-year-old in his ranks, but pointed out that Sahal, who burst onto the scene last season, needs time to adapt and fit into the system.

“If there is one coach, who has lot of experience with working with talents, it’s me. I, at all times, will support talents. With Sahal, literally, if you are critical about things then (people say) the coach doesn’t like Sahal. You can write in big capitals, I am very, very happy to have this player in the team,” Eelco Schattorie stated.

“Sahal comes from a football school in the UAE. Never played competitive football in his life. He’s 22-years-old and has an amazing ability of creativity, that is pure intuition. To fit a player like that into a system takes time. I discuss these things with Sahal himself, so it’s not like I’m criticizing the player,” the Kerala Blasters head coach revealed.

On Difficulties At The Club

Having lost two games in a row after winning their season opener, Eelco Schattorie was asked if he feels the challenge of managing Kerala Blasters is turning out to be tougher than he thought. Speaking on the same, the Dutchman admitted that working at a club with a huge fanbase and expectations was indeed tough, but is confident of competing for the top four if all of his players are fit.

“This is the difficulty when you work at a club with a lot of supporters and expectations are high. I’m 100% sure and I’m not scared to make a statement. If I have my team fit, I’d not be scared to compete for the first four, but things are as they are,” Schattorie concluded.