ISL 2018-19: Eelco Schattorie - First one to admit NorthEast United's penalty was soft

The Dutchman felt handicapped by the lack of depth in his squad but believed securing a top four place won't be tricky...
It was another draw for NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL). The Highlanders have now only registered seven points from their last seven games, which includes four draws, including the 1-1 result on Thursday night in Guwahati.

Head coach Eelco Schattorie was forced to put in a midfielder in defence as Jose Leudo moved back to cover for Mislav Komorski's absence through injury. Asked if lack of depth is what was crippling the team, Schattorie replied, "I can shout. You can fill in the answer yourself, it's clear.

"When we started the match I was not worried that might lose. Fifty percent of the game is organising and structuring your side and finding the best possible balance. We had an issue at the back and that is very simple. If Mislav (Komorski) goes out, then you lose length and a certain stability."

"So, how to find the second solution and I chose to not start with Gurwinder (Singh) because at the beginning of the game it is not settled, it might have created problems for him, so I went with Jose at the back. But we did not get control in midfield so we have to go for the change, gator grip in our favour. But, going with my style of play, you will lose something with Gurwinder offensively. But, he played a great game, hats off to him," he reasoned.

"If you look at the amount of chances we created, that means we did something well. But, in the final cross or in the last third, we lacked quality and depth. But, I'm not negative and I am happy with the point. I had only 19 players in training and we missed depth, that was very clear.

"Puitea (Lalthathanga Khawlhring) is one of the best players in India when I see how much maturely he plays because he is not a winger, he is a midfielder but still does a job there. Nikhil Kadam is not physically ready. We tried (Panagiotis) Triadis on the right but he was not comfortable," he further commented.

Bartholomew Ogbeche NorthEast United Delhi Dynamos ISL 5

It was Delhi Dynamos who took the lead in the 67th minute but Bartholomew Ogbeche won a controversial penalty a couple of minutes later and equalised from the spot. The former East Bengal coach was forthcoming of his comments on the penalty. "The penalty was a soft penalty. I am the first one who will admit that because otherwise people will start nagging," he exclaimed.

On the failure of Ogbeche's to convert from the numerous chances in the game, the former United SC coach said, "Once it comes, it always keep coming. But, in this case may be the cross was too far and not proper so that you could finish it. What can I say about it? There is nothing at this moment that I can say and do that we will do this particular training tomorrow and be better on how to finish. That does not exist. If it did, then any team would be able to score goals."

Goalkeeper TP Rehenesh made some questionable clearances in the first half and also had to be substituted off later owing to an injury. Schattorie chose best not to divulge on the performance of the club's longest-serving player.

"We had an issue there but let me not make a remark on that. I am happy with him and the other two goalkeepers in the team, but there is structural issue in the training for the goalkeepers that I am not happy with but I have to deal with it now. Regarding the injury, Pawan (Kumar) is next in line and request him to do well in the upcoming games."

Earlier in the season, Schattorie had made a comment on Dynamos which was later misconstrued accoring to the Dutch coach. He further went on to praise the capital-based outfit. "Delhi is one of the better teams. It sound stupid now but in the beginning of the season when we played there, I made a remark that if I had this team it would be in the top four, I did not mean that and I apologized to the coach that time.

"What I meant really was that they have a good team and really good Indian players like Vinit Rai and even after losing Pritam Kotal to ATK. What I believe is that if they had a lethal striker, they would have been in a much better position. I was really impressed with Seiminmang Manchong, strong, held the ball and smart with his moves."

With only three games remaining in the league, NorthEast sit four points clear on fourth place having played a game more. Schattorie does not think the business end of the league will be tense for his side, looking to get into the playoffs for the very first time in their history.

"I am not at all worried. If the team does what I tell them to do, I have full confidence. but, if they do not do what I ask them to do then it becomes a little bit tricky," he concluded.