Eelco Schattorie was in his elements after his team eked out a gritty 1-1 draw against East Bengal on Thursday.
The Dutch tactician was seen trying to incite the hostile crowd during the encounter and when asked about that he mentioned of it being part of his personality but also apologised if it had been provoking.
"I don't compare myself with Jose Mourinho, but that's my personality. If they shout at me, I will put my chest up and tell them to come. This is something everyone has to learn and I also have to learn how to keep your emotion and pride under control. I showed temper and that means I like to win. Not every time I do that in a provoking way and my apologies for that."
Amidst the continuing uncertainties surrounding United SC, Schattorie said that it was indeed hard to keep everyone motivated especially with the lack of personnel.
"Yes, there are so many things around our team which make working a little bit difficult. For the players regarding the financial issues, it's not easy. That is something I discussed with my boss. I don't control that and I pray that we come out of this situation. I will do my job and try to keep our strength and keep us motivated as long as possible. If we can get out of this situation, maybe we can take one extra player because upfront we don't have many strikers. I would at the beginning challenge for the title but as the situation goes top three is my target."
On being asked why he excluded Biswajit Saha from the squad who had given a good account of himself in the Kolkata League encounter, Eelco cited the need to protect the youngsters from pressure situations.
"I was thinking about playing Biswajit, but I cancelled the plan. He is a young player and only 18 years old. I chose today some power upfront today. Biswajit is a player for the future and he can score goals. I'm not afraid to give a young boy a chance, but also sometimes you need to protect the boy."
While the coach was praised for carrying on with his tactic of keeping the ball on the ground and passing it around, he was asked whether the players did look a tad too tentative on the ball. Eelco said that when he had joined the job last year, decision making was one of the key areas that he found Indian players to be deficient in. He also pointed out that their opposition was content in playing long balls.
"I remember that last year this was one of the first things I told that the Indian players lack decision making. And the decision making means that the coach can put on a strategy, but after a certain point you have to look for options. With all due respect, I saw East Bengal playing long balls, which is not my style of play. I try that the players learn to make the decisions and that's a process. And when you have two players in the team who keep the ball, it's easy. I try to teach that it's not about only having the ball but also to go forward in high tempo in the right moment."
Eelco was candid in saying that he thought East Bengal clearly had to win the league this season and it was a travesty they didn’t last term.
"Like I said, this is the best chance for East Bengal to win the league. They have the best players and I really wish I had two-or-three of them. Then I would have been confident enough to say that I am also going for the championship."
On being asked to assess the match as a whole, Eelco accepted that he was not ready to lose and said that the first half was a more physical battle which his players lost out while also saying that he was disappointed that Anupam Sarkar could not perform up to his mark as he clearly did not follow the marking drills on Chidi Edeh that they had done in practice.
"I was not ready for losing, but I was ready for the possibility that we would fail to perform. In the first half, it was more a physical thing. About the first goal, this is something I discusses with my boss a few times. Anupam is a local player and I told him before the match that Chidi only does one thing, pushes the ball to his right foot and then shoot. So, push him to left and you can catch him. But, Anupam did the opposite and in this level, that is a big mistake. In the first half, we were outplayed in a manly way. I always hear that Anupam is a local talent. Yes he is a very good boy, but in high-pressure matches, he still does mistakes. That's a learning process."
Eelco concluded by noting that the referee for the match was pretty inconsistent in his decision making too and that clearly did not help his team.
"In the first minute, the right-back of East Bengal handled the ball and I shouted to the referee that it's a yellow card. And the first foul that we committed, we got a yellow for that. I do not like this lack of consistency in refereeing Also, at the end of the game, I stretched a hand to the referee but he was not even looking at me."
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