We must maintain our intensity for the full ninety minutes: Eelco Schattorie

Kingfisher East Bengal make a trip to the west to face Mumbai FC at Cooperage on Wednesday evening, in a game that has little at stake in terms of East Bengal who occupy the fourth place in the table fairly distant from the teams directly above and below them.

Head Coach Eelco Schattorie believes the scenario of the league gives Mumbai FC the edge as he expects them to charged up for the game, while his players may struggle for motivation to perform. “Both the sides have very different ambitions. Mumbai FC are fighting relegation and will be charged up for the game. Meanwhile, the only thing left for us to play, is improving our ranking and sometimes it may affect your motivation levels”.

But the Dutch coach feels he will do all it takes to get his side in the right frame of mind before the game against Mumbai FC. “As a coach I try to motivate them to play well. We have already done well in matches which don’t mean a lot. Recently, we came back from 2-0 down in the AFC Cup to draw the game at 2-2, so we aren’t new to this situation and we have delivered on such occasions in the past”.

The Red & Golds have endured a topsy-turvy campaign so far, and coach Eelco Shattorie feels low fitness levels among his squad is a major reason for the inconsistency. “I have been here just for three months and since I came in, the fitness levels of the players weren’t great mainly due to the ISL and fixture congestion thanks to the AFC Cup. So I have not got time to train my squad’s fitness properly which has resulted in many muscle injuries for my players”.

The Dutch coach confirmed his East Bengal side will be without midfielder Mehtab Hussain and left back Robert for the game against Mumbai FC as the duo nurse an injury. “We have a major injury setback in midfielder Mehtab Hussain who would have been perfect in a game like this where East Bengal are likely to have more ball possession, and also right back Robert who is out with injury”.

Eelco Schattorie claimed he always wants to win despite the situation and goes into every game thinking so. But he doesn’t feel his opposite number has the same approach and hence feels the need for his side to be wary of the threat which Mumbai FC pose. “I always try to win any match, but the Mumbai FC coach’s approach is a little different, they always set up in a way to ensure they don’t lose rather than go for the win”.

“I have seen their games and often they retreat into their own box. So the chances of us dominating the ball possession are high. But we must be careful while dealing with their counter attacks as we will have plenty of space behind our defence”.

The Dutchman though feels his side are the favourites for tomorrow’s game despite being away if his side could maintain the same intensity levels for the full ninety minutes. “We are a better team than Mumbai in terms of quality, but if we don’t maintain our intensity for the full ninety minutes, we would surrender that edge to Mumbai and they could also end up winning the game. So it is upto my players, how they deal with the game tomorrow”.

With nothing but pride to play for, Eelco Schattorie’s will to win could compensate the loss of motivation in his players if any. With the best strike force in the league and one of the better teams on the ball, Kingfisher East Bengal represent a huge threat to Mumbai FC and a share of spoils again might not be that bad a result for the hosts.

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