EXCLUSIVE | NEUFC head coach, Eelco Schattorie speaks to G Plus on his experience of running the show
• If you look at the history of the ISL, quite a few big names have got managerial positions. Did you really expect this top job this season?
First of all, this is not arrogant if you look at my CV. I worked a big part of my life in Asia, meaning a lot of middle east. The job before this, I worked in Saudi Arabia, that's a very high league. So me getting appointed here in ISL is absolutely an honour. At the same time, I think to appoint a coach in ISL should not be based on a big name or based on some previous championship. We should always give the club in my opinion the chance to appoint a coach that fits the club that fits the culture. Me having worked in Asia is in my opinion is a pre because you understand certain limitations and I think that's a good thing.
• Has the experience of working in the league helped you to understand how football in the country is played or do you think ISL is a completely different beast?
I don't think there is too much difference regarding football itself, of course, you have more foreigners so the level is a bit higher, also the facilities are better. Overall, yeah there is an advantage, but the bigger advantage is that I worked for a long time in Asia, I know how to deal with certain issues, certain problems, I think for someone who never worked in a foreign country or maybe starts his career as a coach have to deal with certain limitations, they will probably get frustrated. I try to deal with them in a calm way and I having worked here for a long time, I think it is absolutely a positive in this job.
• When did you find out about your appointment and when did you devise a plan for the season?
I got appointed in the end of July or somewhere in the beginning of August. Planning for the season was very difficult because still their foreign players were not signed. So, getting into the job day by day I had to plan. We did not go for a pre-season camp. So, along the way was a rocky ride. Overall, if you ask me what exactly the plan was, I did that day by day, adjust to the situation and as I said I always try to work in planning, executing, evaluating and normally do it over a longer period of time, but in this case was short term and we managed to do well till now.
• After a difficult pre-season did you expect the boys to be leading the table at this stage?
Of course, this expectation you never know from the beginning when you are in a situation. Now we are good, but still, we did not win anything. That means we still have to keep going to reach the play-offs. But we are on the right way and we got a certain stability at this moment and that's good. But the thing is that looking at the challenges we had during the pre-season, I emphasised a lot on having good team spirit, that worked well and I really have to say also that the players we recruited or mainly the club recruited, they have very good characters and that makes my job a little bit easier. If you have characters who are difficult, who may come from different country, and then think Indian League is not so good, and they have certain attitude and that makes it always more difficult. But on that level we have good players, with good attitudes and as I said I emphasised a lot to get everybody together and start first working and then we look at the techniques and the technical part of the job.
• Quite a few of the players have really shot under you including Rowllin Borges, how have you impacted the domestic players?
My way of working for sure is improving players. Anywhere I work that is my aim, because in the end you need them. I am not that right away focused on results but if you improve players then you also get results. That's normally a long-term process. That we got results in the beginning was good. It only gives more confidence. Rowllin, I know him for last year. I think Rowllin has a lot of potential, still needs to improve a lot, but I am happy that the potential, that I see in him at this moment is blooming. But again we did not win anything yet, we still have a long way to go.
• In terms of tactics the NEUFC this time around has managed to get points even though on some occasions the team has not played well that particularly well.
I don't agree to that. As I am saying we are not playing that particularly well. Normally when you start a season there are always moments when things go lax, so that's a process. I think in patches we played really well football and in patches there are moments, especially defensively, where you can improve. I am talking more about personal mistakes. As a team, I think offensively and defensively we are pretty well-organised but the execution of technical things; that means, the controlling of the ball, certain runs that you have to make and defensively marking your opponent; these things always get improved and these are personal things and we try to work on.
• Your aim for the season from personal and team point of view
The aim is to win our next game, I don't look for other, because as I said, in football, today you are hero tomorrow you are a zero. There are so many things that can influence a process. So, I only aim on today's training and on our next game. And as a team for sure, I tried to improve our players, especially young Indian players, to build them in and give them a chance to grow. I think that is in short the aim. And hopefully in the end we get what we, for the end goal looking for, is of course, to qualify for the play-offs. But that I am not looking at it now as I said I only look for the next game to win that game, step by step hopefully we get to our end goal.