Prayag United boosted their chances of ending the season in the top 3 of the I-League by registering a 0-1 victory at United Sikkim. Coach Eelco Schattorie was satisfied with his team's performance overall although lamented the lack of concentration over the entire ninety minutes.
Schattorie started off commenting on the lack of recovery time the players had after the IFA Shield final against East Bengal in the midweek.
"We played in the last 20 days, 8 or 9 games, (and thus) we decided not to start our strongest squad, that is first. Secondly, (the players) did not have much recovery after IFA Shield for training, (thus) a good preparation was difficult."
As far as the game went though, the former Al Riffa SC head coach analysed his side's mistakes, not forgetting the importance of the 3 points gained.
"If you look at the game itself, it was not our best game, that’s for sure. I think we lost too many balls. If we would have been a little more focused, I think we could have scored many goals. Not that we didn’t score, but we created many chances. But in midfield we were supposed to outclass Sikkim, but we lost very very easy balls and that transition gave a few chances to Sikkim."
"Those (chances) were not that big, it looked more dangerous than it was. At one moment I changed my central defender for Gouramangi (Moirangthem) to put in a bit of experience and from that moment on I didn’t think (for even) one second (I was) worried of giving the ball away. So it was more optical advantage for Sikkim and they created chances."
"I always analyze the game in general on how many chances do you score and how many chances you get against you. Like I said, Sikkim may be having optical advantage but we lost lots of unnecessary balls, and if we had little more concentration on our possession of ball, we could have scored more goals. I think Sikkim is in a difficult situation but they fought hard, I have to give that to them but it’s not that I felt that they outplayed us."
When asked about the decision of not bringing the team sheet in time, and coming with it directly just a few hours before the game, Schattorie said, "You have to choose. After the IFA Shield, the day after we have to travel and normally, if you have to sit in the bus for 4-to-5 hours, that is not good for your recovery, because you’re sitting with your legs up and thus I chose to stay in Siliguri, have at least one night of proper rest and then we got the next day for our training in Siliguri."
"Normally, playing at this altitude makes a big difference and it’s almost six and a half thousand feet. The people and the media talk about it and make it worse than it is."
With 6 games to go in the I-League, Schattorie calculated "that 4 are winnable". With the hopes of the fans still not entirely dried for a late surge at the title, Schattorie believes "some mistakes by Churchill Brothers are required for them to have a chance."
"Two of the games will be more difficult, East Bengal and Salgaocar. Salgaocar, we have to play away, the other four, I calculated (and think we should gain) 12 points, which will bring us in the first three."
"To become champions, it's looking difficult, I think I don’t know if Churchill Brothers will make mistakes but to get in the first three should be possible." he mentioned.
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