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ISL 2019-20: Eelco Schattorie - Kerala Blasters had fantastic mentality on the field

20:27 GMT+3 20/10/2019
Kerala Blasters vs ATK ISL 2019-20
The Dutch coach was not satisfied after the win as ace midfielder Mario Arques picked up yet another injury….

The Eelco Schattorie-era at Kerala Blasters began in style on Sunday in Kochi as the hosts picked up an important 2-1 win over ATK.

Blasters conceded early in the match but Bartholomew Ogbeche’s brace in the first half itself sealed the fate of the game in Kerala’s favour.

The Dutch coach though did not seem excited after the win as Spanish midfielder Mario Arques picked up an injury and had to leave the field despite coming on a second half substitute.

Speaking on the game, Eelco Schattorie said, “I should be happy that I have three points and I am. But I feel extremely frustrated that Arques played only 45 minutes in pre-season. Now he goes out with another injury, the two central defenders (Gianni Zuiverloon and Jairo Rodrigues) also didn’t come fully fit.

"I tried to catch up, somehow get the players as fit as possible. It is very difficult to make decisions at the moment. Let us see how the players get out of this tomorrow.”

Schattorie further added, “I think the players had a fantastic mentality on the field. I lost TP Rehenesh to a training injury today. Overall, there are a lot of areas we have to try to fit them together. I am very happy with the commitment of the players. Only way ATK were dangerous was via free-kicks and we gave them stupid free-kicks.”

Many were surprised to see former Indian Arrows midfielder Jeakson Singh in the starting lineup ahead of national team star Sahal Abdul Samad.

Explaining his decision, Schattorie said, “My problem is I am honest. It is all about reality. What is reality? Sahal is a fantastic player and has good qualities but he was absent for four weeks in pre-season. Sahal will take time to play in my system. It is the same for Jessel (Carneiro).

“Jeakson started well in pre-season then he went for the national team. He came back and adjusted again. Jeakson was a bit more prepared. He is 18-years-old, I don't mind playing youngsters but they need to bring something to the table.”

Goalkeeper Bilal Khan looked shaky throughout the game and fumbled quite a few times in front of the goal which could have been dangerous for the team.

But the Blasters coach, defending his custodian, said, “Goalkeeping is a position that needs experience. Bilal played I-League and so he has experience. But he played in a team that was defensive and did not need to play out from the back.”