NorthEast United FC head coach Eelco Schattorie has a tough task ahead of him to lead the Highlanders into a playoff spot. The John Abraham co-owned franchise has not been able to finish in the top four in the past four editions of the Indian Super League (ISL) and the Dutch tactician has taken up the onus to turn the tables.
"The challenge is that there is huge pressure on me. If you have never qualified, you are asked to do so. Ten teams have the same goal and in the end, only one will reach that goal. Lower budget and lower quality players, don't matter in football. Everything is possible in football. I have always liked to work with wrong players and make them grow,' the coach said.
"Young players follow a trajectory where they are inconsistent. It is a huge task to bring consistency with young players. But you don't get much time. If you lose a few times, then there is pressure. So far all the signings that we have made including the overseas one are growing together as a team. What happens on the field is a process. Since I am in India I would like to take an example. Taj Mahal was not built in a day and if you want to build something, it takes time. We will work together to make the best out of the season," the Dutchman added.
Schattorie is known for his attacking philosophy and the former East Bengal coach asserted that this time it will be no different.
"I am a person who likes to play productive and progressive football. I am not the person who likes to hang back and play on the counter. I like to attack and dominate. But to dominate you must have quality. You cannot make from a Mini Cooper a Ferrari. You have to look at the quality and then fit it into a system. My intention is always to win. But you have to keep in mind the quality as well. We are still in the process. But for sure I want to be aggressive and not negative," explained the gaffer.
The head coach is looking to bring stability into the team and also admitted that it would be a tall order to make it into the top four.
"It is difficult to break a certain spell in football. The young team brings good dynamics and enthusiasm. But stability and consistency is a concern and we are working on it. They gave me a two-year contract. In football, you have to take day by day. I am looking to bring stability at first. Then we will take it from there.
"I only want to focus on the progress that we are making in pre-season. The reason we did not go out for pre-season is not relevant right now. Whether it is in Sweden or Kolkata, it is not relevant right now. We want to focus on the game with Goa. A good pre-season is important. But in India it is different. Some players arrive late, but for us now, I am still assessing," informed the former United Sports manager.
Schattorie is well acquainted with Kolkata courtesy of his coaching spells in East Bengal and United Sports and he feels that the league would further develop if the two Kolkata giants get on board.
"Mohun Bagan and East Bengal joining would certainly develop football. It will be a huge financial boost. They have a lot of history and a great fan base. They would certainly add charm to the tournament," he remarked.
The coach showered praise on Bartholomew Ogbeche and Redeem Tlang and also reminded them of their responsibilities on the pitch.
"Bart played in Holland. So we have got that connection with Holland. He has good goal scoring ability. I am really impressed with his attitude, the way he interacts with me and the younger players. But he must score the goals.
"Tlang is a player who belongs from the North Eastern region. He can play in multiple positions. He can play on the wing and at the same time in the midfield. He has good technique as well. He is learning fast and I am impressed with the way he is adapting to the surroundings. He must provide a lot of assists and also start scoring goals, that's what I am pushing him for," concluded Schattorie.