ISL 2019/20: 'I like to build consistency,' says Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie
However, Eelco Schattorie will face a significantly bigger test when his side face last season's semi-finalists - Mumbai City FC on Thursday evening. The Dutch coach opened up on one of his most troubled departments from the previous game - goalkeeping. Bilal Khan, who won the 'Best Goalkeeper of I-League' award last season was between the sticks for Blasters in their first fixture. However, the 25-year old was shaky at the back, and the coach has backed his custodian by hinting that there be no change in the position.
"TP (Rehenesh) is basically my number one goalkeeper simply because he is the most experienced. Both these goalkeepers (Bilal Khan and Shibin Raj) never got proper coaching. Give them some time. In all three (goalkeepers) I have full confidence. Unfortunately, TP Rehenesh got injured and the next in line was Bilal because Shibin also had an injury. Both keepers need support, need time. That's something we work on. These things take time.
Schattorie also updated on Mario Arques' injury. The Spanish midfielder was not fully fit before the game but was introduced in the second half, only to be taken out with an injury in the closing minutes.
Mario, unfortunately, has an injury and how long he is going to take is not sure. He arrived for the first day in the pre-season with an injury. We tried to get him as fit as possible but that didn't perfectly work out. Even last game I was hesitating to put him inside because his fitness levels were not good. But in the last part Jeakson and Cidoncha were dropping a little bit so we needed a fresh player. Mario right away changed the game.
The Kerala Blasters gaffer stated that he would be looking to build consistency and relationships in the squad. The team had a difficult pre-season filled with injuries. Schattorie pointed out the same as a hindrance in the team's progress. Lack of communcation was often evident at the Blasters' midfield, against ATK.
It was on Bartholomew Ogbeche's brace that the team managed to secure the valuable three points. The manager has stressed the need to build a consistent lineup to improve the communication and understanding between the players. This would turn out to be a morale boost for the players who struggled.
A team is all about consistency and building relationships. I think the win in the last game is a top result. I know we were a little bit lucky. Whatever it was a good result against a good team. We had a very difficult pre-season especially in the center-backs and midfield we didn't have any consistency. Sahal was away for four weeks. We lost Sandesh.
You will never see me make a lot of changes. I like to build consistency and if somebody is not doing well or dropping too much, he will be replaced with someone who will be next in line. We need to give people chances but overall I like consistency.
Blasters will have to be wary of Mumbai's pacy attacks from counter-attacks. The club has retained its core from the previous season and made valuable purchases like Rowllin Borges and Mato Grgic. When asked about the opposition, Schattorie did admit that they enjoy the privilege of having watched Blasters play already.
I think in Mumbai the playing style is very clear. Most coaches have a certain style they adapt. Maybe the system changes a little bit. But I'm sure the coach (Jorge Costa) will look to play on the counter. It is a big advantage that they saw us play already.