With a squad which has not yet recovered from their fitness issues, Eelco Schattorie has the difficult task of rallying his troops against a well-oiled FC Goa team.
Kerala Blasters are on the back of a disappointing 3-2 loss against Jamshedpur FC but the Dutch coach assured that motivation has never been a problem for his players.
"I did not feel at any time during all the matches that the players were not motivated. Of course, it was painful to lose the last game. I want to rectify some things. It was shown on TV that I was angry at the referee for the penalty but I wasn't. I could not see it. Yes, I was disappointed. But I can say that the referee was against us from the first to the last minute.
"There was a disgusting foul on Mario and the referee goes to the right pocket for a red card and suddenly he changes his mind and goes for his left to show a yellow. There was a handball given against Sahal that wasn't. All these things are frustrating. But the mentality we showed and the conviction to work is 100 per cent," said Schattorie on the eve of the game against FC Goa.
Injuries continue to dampen his spirits and the coach did not hide his frustration. He went on to mention that Rahul KP is close to recovery but chose not to reveal the possible return date for Gianni Zuiverloon.
"Maybe as a coach, I am a little bit biased and so is the media. I hear a lot on TV that when a team loses a striker it is a problem. But for us, we played 13 games without the same XI, mostly in defence and midfield. And mostly even before two days, I don't know who will be fit to play. That is a huge problem. But the way we played, as a team and individually, is wonderful. I think there are only two players who played 13 games. This is a problem for a coach. But I am a positive guy and still, you need a little bit of luck. Maybe, the referees could make fewer mistakes. Yet, we have come here to win and get the three points."
The former NorthEast United manager is not giving up on the hopes of finishing in the top-four and wants to fight till the end.
"Chances are still there. We had a good session yesterday. I don't focus on results. I focus on the process. If the process is good then results will come. As long as nothing is decided we keep going."
Schattorie claimed that in spite of faltering on the pitch the fans stand by his side and a section of them even wants him to continue next season.
"I get a lot of messages from supporters that if we don't qualify they want me here in next season as they see improvement on many levels. The only thing I can say is that I work from morning till evening to get the best results. It is not easy for a club who did not do well for the past two seasons, to turn them around right away. Look at Manchester United, they are struggling. It's not just a matter of coach and some players. I know exactly the dynamics involved but they take time," stated the 48-year old.
He heaped praise on Goa and wished he could also adopt the same style as the Gaurs.
"In the reverse fixture, we gave the game to Goa. Goa is a team that plays football the way I would like to play. It is the only team that plays possession-based football and they also have the quality to put balls forward. They are the best team doing that. Our team, I have the tools to play the same kind of football but unfortunately, I don't have them fit all the time. Still, I like to play possession-based football," concluded the coach.