The Kerala Blasters head coach also feels that without injuries his side can compete for the top spot.
Life has been tough for Eelco Schattorie in his first six games in-charge of Kerala Blasters. The Dutchman has had to endure injuries to key players and inconsistencies. Moreover, another heartbreaking draw against FC Goa has left the Blasters with no win since the opening day.
With a five-match winless streak on their back, the Blasters will now face Mumbai City FC on Thursday, who are a place above them in the ISL standings. Considering all the facts, a win for either team could prove to be pivotal – given that both have to keep pace with the leading pack to harbour any expectations of qualifying for the playoffs.
Ahead of the game on Thursday evening, Eelco Schattorie lamented the injury crisis surrounding the Blasters’ squad, but believes that his side can turn a new leaf against Mumbai.
“We have played six games so far this season and every game I’ve had to change (the team). We have been down with injuries and it is annoying. When we want to go one step forward, we are put two steps back,” he said.
The Kerala Blasters head coach also looked at the brighter side of things, as he went on to add, “I still think there is a lot of progress. We performed well in the last two games against Bengaluru and Goa.”
“As a coach, I have concerns about tomorrow’s game, but I have to work with what I have. I cannot complain and am not going to give any excuses,” Eelco Schattorie emphasized.
Thoughts On Clinical Finishing
The 47-year-old demanded more clinical finishing from his side, having scored only five goals in their first six games.
“In football, the striker and the supply line is very important. In that sense, it has not been in the way it should be, particularly because of the injury to Mario (Arques). Sometimes, that happens and you have to work around it. But, the goals are the most important,” he said.
Thoughts On Mumbai City
Eelco Schattorie did not shy away from talking about his side’s next opponents on Thursday evening, Mumbai City FC.
“I think Mumbai are in a similar situation as us. They also had injuries. Even when they played against us, they lost an important player, (Rowllin) Borges, who was last year with me. Mumbai is playing better football than last year and more attractive. Last year, it was more counter-attacking,” he quipped.
“They have been a bit unlucky with results, but their team has not changed much this season and that can influence their gameplay. I think they should be higher up the table for the way they’ve played,” Eelco Schattorie added.
Speaking on the team and the repercussions of the injuries, Eelco Schattorie said, “We have signed some really good players and have a great team that can fight for the top spot. But, we have been unlucky with injuries and the club is in transition, so the playing style is different.”
Former Mumbai City defender Raju Gaikwad accompanied Eelco Schattorie to the pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon and gave some insight into the game.
“We have been performing well in the last two games and we are motivated to do better in the upcoming matches, like tomorrow against Mumbai. We want to give our best and get the three points. I’m from Mumbai and I played for them in the first and fourth season. So, I’m excited to play tomorrow. “
Mumbai City FC host Kerala Blasters at Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday at 7:30 PM IST.