NorthEast United manager Eelco Schattorie blamed the prolonged period of inactivity as the biggest reason for NorthEast United’s elimination from the Super Cup by the hands of Chennaiyin FC. The Netherland manager also heaped praise on players Girik Khosla and Nikhil Kadam after Sunday’s match.
Before Sunday, the last time NorthEast United played a competitive game was last month at the Kanteerava, which was the second leg of the ISL playoffs. Since then, the I-League clubs pulling out of the AIFF Super Cup had left NorthEast United with no pre-quarterfinal match, and they went almost a month without playing.
Schattorie has pointed it out as the biggest reason why NorthEast United failed to perform to their optimum level against Chennaiyin on Sunday. “We started the first ten minutes really well. We scored a good goal from a corner. But, the last game we played was on the 11th of last month,” he said after the match, reported Goal.
“We did not have any games in between and that was the biggest problem which I had known. In all my training sessions, I had 14-15 players available so I could not play 11 vs 11 and we lost rhythm,” he added.
For a side which thrives on slow buildups and passing from the back. NorthEast were paralyzed by the unpreparedness of Mato Grgic, who was one of the star players in ISL season.
"Mato (Grgic) had to stay back longer during his holiday because of some family problems. He was completely finished and had to come off after the first half. I tried to make some changes in the second half because our buildup was not so good. We played really well after. We created enough chances and could have scored. We did well except for where
In the absence of the injured Federico Gallego and unfit Bartholomew Ogbeche, Schattorie had to bank on young Girik Khosla up top alongside Juan Mascia. Though the tactician had to take a different route, he stated that he couldn’t have controlled things any better.
"No, we could not have done anything differently. We scored a good goal and then dropped because it had a lot to do with the buildup from the back. Mato was not doing the buildup properly and that influenced the game. In the last part, I put in an extra striker (Bartholomew Ogbeche). We did well but were unlucky with the finishing."
Full back Nikhil Kadam was one of the brighter spots of the match as the left back kept running up and down making life difficult for Chennaiyin defence. However, after Triadis faded away in the second half, Khosla caught eyeballs with his marauding run. And the former East Bengal coach praised the duo.
"He (Girik) has made a lot of progress and he can be proud. I am happy that I could contribute