Kerala Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie has blamed injuries for the Blasters' struggles with the club set to face Mumbai City at the Mumbai Football Arena. The Dutch coach and his side sit in eighth place on the table and he revealed why his side are conceding more goals from set-pieces.
Desperate Kerala Blasters are travelling to face Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday with Eelco Schattorie and Co winless in their last five games and their only win of the season came against ATK in the season opener. It means that the Blasters are currently eight on the table with five points and injuries to key players are the main concern for head coach Eelco Schattorie.
And the head coach has lamented about those injury concerns and stated whenever Blasters take a step forward, they need to take two steps backwards because of injuries.
“Yes, it’s a simple reality. We have played six games, and every time I have to change the line-up. Whenever we take a step forward, we take two steps back and this has a lot to do with the injuries.” Eelco Schattorie told reporters at the pre-match press conference, ISL website reported.
However, the head coach expressed his team’s performance against champions Bengaluru and last season finalists Goa.
“Having said that, I still think there has been a lot of progress. We still put up a good show before the last game against Bengaluru and last week against Goa. But we can only thank ourselves for not winning that game. In the end, we have to move forward. I work with what I have. I don’t complain. I always catch the reality,” Schattorie further added.
Mumbai City are also in a similar position like Kerala Blasters with injuries to key players and are winless in their last five games after winning their opener against Kerala Blasters. However, Schattorie went on to praise Mumbai City for their attractive football.
“I think Mumbai is in a similar situation to us. They also had injuries even when they played against us. They lost some important players, (Rowllin) Borges, Mato (Grgic). To be honest, Mumbai play better football this season than last year. A little bit more attractive. Even in the last game, they had some nice passages of play. They were also a little bit unlucky. They have a good team. I think they can be higher (in the standings) if they had all their players fit.” the 47-year-old coach said.
When asked about why Kerala Blasters were conceding more goals from set-pieces, the Dutchman replied. “There’s a very interesting statistic, as in last year, I had the best defensive record in the league regarding set-pieces. I’m not doing anything different. It’s about maturity. We have young players. We are working very hard on it.”
“We try to make the players aware of their responsibilities. But in the end, a set-piece for me, is taking a quick picture about the situation and knowing what to do. Because up front, we have good organization. But sometimes in a game, things change. Which means the (opposition) could change their setup, suddenly you don’t patrol it, and then you need to react and that is experience and maturity.” the coach further added.
Finally, Schattorie blamed playmaker Mario Arques’s injury as the cause for Kerala Blasters’ poor goal scoring form this season. Kerala have only scored five goals this season from six games. “In football, three elements are extremely important. One is a scoring striker, a goalkeeper who can save you, and someone who can supply.”
“The supply at the moment, is not as it should be and that has a lot to do with the absence of Mario Arques. Cido (Sergio Cidoncha) is not that specific player. He is a player who needs to be closer to the goal, but I have to withdraw him a little bit because of the injuries. We train our rotations, how to attack.” the Dutch coach concluded.
Defender Raju Gaikwad also attended the press conference with Schattorie, And he revealed how Kerala could use long throw-ins as a weapon against Mumbai. “We are working on set-pieces for a long time. In the Goa match, we scored from a throw in. We’ll be continuing this because we believe in this. Maybe, we will do it in the coming match.”
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