Kerala Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie believes his next opponents Mumbai City have improved over the last year and are in a similar situation to that of his own team regarding injuries.
The Dutchman's team will take on Mumbai City at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. They already played the Islanders at home and were held to a draw by a late Amini Chermiti strike.
"I think Mumbai is in a similar situation like us. To be honest, I think Mumbai has played better football than last year. Last year was more (about) counter-attack, this year they had some nice passages of play. They were also a bit unlucky and I'm not sure how many times they played with the same 11 and that always influences your play. I think they have a good team but where they are now, I think they can be higher if they had all their players fit," Schattorie said before the game.
"It's a simple reality and I'm a bit annoyed by the scoreboard analysis. We have played six games and every time I have to take a step forward we have had to take two steps back. This has got to do a lot with the injuries.
"I still think that there has been a lot of progress from individual players. We still put up a good show against Bengaluru and last week against Goa, and we can only thank ourselves for not winning that game where there was a goal in the last minute of the game," said the 47-year-old.
The Blasters boss has been trolled on social media for citing injuries as an excuse for the lack of wins. Schattorie responded to that by saying, "I still have other (injury) concerns before tomorrow's (Thursday) game but I work with what I have. So I don't complain. I just catch the reality and if people see that as seeking excuses, they don't understand football."
Kerala have scored just five goals so far and the former NorthEast United coach has lamented on the lack of personnel in the right positions to create the goals upfront.
"The supply at this moment is not good and that has a lot to do with the absence of Mario (Arques). Cido (Sergio Cidoncha) is not that specific (kind of) player - he is someone who plays closer to the goal but I have to withdraw (play him deeper) a little bit.
"So we just make our squad as fit as possible, train our rotations and how to attack, but in the end, if you don't score... There are so many teams last year, like Jamshedpur, who played good football but didn't have a striker to finish it. We have a good striker to finish it, but if you don't have a proper supply, that's our problem. As I said before, I work with what I have and if my team is fit I will compete for the top spot," he remarked.