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NorthEast United v Bengaluru

ISL 2018-19: Eelco Schattorie - Bengaluru have been handed a psychological punch

18:02 GMT 07/03/2019
Eelco Schattorie NorthEast United Bengaluru
The NorthEast United boss believes that he tactically outplayed Carles Cuadrat in the first half ...
NorthEast United edged Bengaluru to head into the second leg of play-off of the Indian Super League with a 2-1 advantage. 

Naturally, boss Eelco Schattorie was delighted with the result despite injuries to Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rowllin Borges in what could have been a perfect night for the hosts. Nevertheless, the gaffer was happy that he tactically outplayed his Spanish counterpart. 

“Before the match, I already had (Rowllin) Borges injured. Yesterday (Wednesday) in training, he got a hamstring. He recovered half-half but had to be taken out during the game due to the injury. And then Bartolomew (Ogbeche) got injured. We lost two players in the first half, it’s a big blow. I don’t think they will be fit for the next game. Having said that, first half we completely outplayed Bengaluru. They did not create even one chance. They did not have any answer to our tactics.  

“Losing Borges in midfield was a big problem. I had to bring in Nikhil, who is not so physical. In the second half we did not play football anymore. But that’s understandable. I still think they did not create so many chances in the second half, but we also didn’t. 

“I’m very happy about the first half. I think it’s one of our better halves this season, especially to completely shove off Bengaluru. They scored a goal which was a 100 percent foul on Juan (Mascia). Then we get a penalty, I have no idea where it was from, but that was good. It was fantastically taken by Juan to put it into the top corner. So overall, I think we deserved the result. But going on to the next game, it is going to be a big challenge,” he said. 

The Dutchman admitted that his team stopped playing 'football' in the second half due to the circumstances. He was proud that his team still kept Bengaluru from creating a lot of chances. He said - “Did you see Bengaluru create even one chance in the first half? To be honest, if I had a good centre-back who can play football, that would make it a lot easier. That was a big problem, given how I want to play football.  

“The other nine outfield players are the ones who have played throughout the season and played the best football and changing that is a problem, especially at centre-back. But in the second half, we did not play much because if you lose your main target man and Borges – who is in form – that makes it more difficult.

“If you stop playing football, it has it’s reasons. If you lose your target man who can hold the ball and Borges who was involved in the passing game, we start playing long balls forward. To control the game, you need to have the ball. But we had to sit back and play on the counter. But Juan is not a counter player. But this is not how I want to play.”

“We have 16 players left now, and two goalkeepers. We will try to reach the finals.” 

Schattorie heaped praises on goal-scorer Redeem Tlang. The gaffer also went on to admit his joy on winning a tactical battle. 

“Before the game, I told Redeem he’s going to score today. He scored with his left-foot. It was a fantastic goal. He played almost all season and took a break in the end. Young players need to develop and Redeem does the job on the ball and without the ball. The final touch before a cross or a finish is something he needs to work on and I’m happy he did today. This should give him confidence. 

“My biggest joy is how we played in the first half. We were defensively organised and they did not have any answer to our build up. It gives you a lot of joy because that’s what you work for. Winning is also important as that’s what it’s about. It’s a very good achievement for NorthEast United because of the budget, etc. Hopefully we can continue this in the next game but it will be tough. It does not have to be fantastic football, we need to be realistic. I hope we can win in Bengaluru.” 

The Dutchman does not believe that playing at home or away makes any difference. But he is aware that a tough task awaits him in Bengaluru. 

“It depends on the angle at which you look it from. Whether you play away or home, if you play well, you win and don’t have to look at anything else. I’m happy with the win, especially that it happened in the last minute. It gives us confidence and a psychological punch for Bengaluru. Their team have a deeper squad and can rest. But we will focus on ourselves, try to recover fast and hopefully we can take one step further,” he concluded.