The Dutchman also thinks Mumbai City FC have an advantage over Kerala Blasters on Thursday.

Ahead of Kerala Blasters‘ second game in the league, head coach Eelco Schattorie addressed the press on Wednesday. Eelco Schattorie stressed the importance of building consistency in the squad, but admitted that he will not hesitate to replace someone who is not performing well even though he likes to hold on to a consistent set of players.

“A team is all about consistency and building relationships and we had a very difficult pre-season. I think we won last time, the game, is a top result. Either we were a little bit lucky with the referee or whatever it was a top result to win this game against a good team. Why? Because all the inconsistency we had in the pre-season. Especially, in centre-back and the midfield, we didn’t have any relationships, consistency,” Eelco Schattorie expressed.

“Sahal (Abdul Samad) was away for four weeks. We lost Sandesh (Jhingan) and other two centre-backs had injuries. So, you’ll never see me make a lot of changes. I like to build consistency and if somebody is not doing well or dropping too much, he’ll be replaced with someone next in line,” the Dutch tactician stated.

“But, overall I try to hold on. So, it’s all about trying to, even in good and bad, build relationships and the one who performs the best in training, he’ll get the chance,” Eelco Schattorie added.

On Bilal Khan Facing Criticism

Kerala Blasters goalkeeper Bilal Khan had some nervy moments in his league debut against ATK on Sunday and was on the receiving end of criticism. However, Eelco Schattorie came to Bilal’s defence, explaining that people need to be patient with the goalkeeper.

“TP (Rehenesh) is basically my number one goalkeeper simply because he has the most experience. Both Shibin and Bilal, I have a very good goalkeeper coach (who) I brought in. And both keepers they never get proper goalkeeping coaching. That I can see from the first day,” Eelco Schattorie opined.

“I saw also a little bit on social media and newspapers, where the keeper is getting criticized. Give these players some time. All three have my full confidence. Unfortunately, TP got injured. The next one in line, in this case, was Bilal because Shibin also had an injury. But. both keepers need support, need time and that’s something we work on. As I said Rome is not built in one day. These things take time,” the 47-year-old explained.

On Mario Arques’s Injury

Eelco Schattorie also gave an update on Mario Arques‘ injury. The Spaniard came on as a substitute against ATK last weekend, but had to go off after picking up a hamstring injury. The Kerala Blasters head coach revealed that the club are still unclear about how long Arques will be unavailable for.

“Mario, unfortunately, has an injury. How long it going to take, I’m not sure. We are getting today back the scan of his injury. Mario arrived from the first day in pre-season with an injury. We tried to get him fit as good as possible but that, unfortunately, didn’t perfectly work out,” the tactician revealed.

“Even last game I was hesitating to put him inside basically because his fitness levels were not on par, that’s always a risk. But, last game on the midfield, in the last part, Jeakson (Singh) and Cido were dropping a little bit. So you want to bring in a fresh player. That’s why Sahal came inside and also Mario. Mario right away changed the game, you could see that. The first control he made, the audience were in awe. There was a very positive impact and unfortunately we lost him with another injury,” Eelco Schattorie added.

On Mumbai City FC

Eelco Schattorie went on to speak about his side’s Thursday’s opponents Mumbai City FC. The 47-year-old feels he knows what to expect from his counterpart Jorge Costa in terms of playing style, but conceded that he is clear about the players that are going to play and the tactics they are going to use, as he did not get to watch them play a competitive game this season yet.

“I think in Mumbai, the playing style is clear for me. Most coaches have a certain style, they adapt, maybe the system changes a little bit. But, I’m sure this coach looks for quick play on the counter, but how the positions are filled in and which qualities of the players that will play, that is always a question mark if you don’t have any chance to see their games,” he said.

“So, I do think it’s a, I’m not going to say it’s a huge, but a big advantage that they saw us play already. If I have to fight you in a box and you already saw me fighting but I didn’t see you fighting, I have no idea what to expect. There are always small things in games that make a difference and especially if you saw the opponent already one time and how they play, how their formation [is], some critical moments of critical players, Schattorie further added.

“So, I’m not happy with that but that’s another challenge we have to face. We’re not scared. I think it’s a good thing that we won last game, that we have confidence. We will just stay composed, play our game and hopefully during the game we recognize where we can beat them,” Schattorie concluded.