Trigger-happy Twitteratti Schattorie playing 'doctor' with fans

Before Kerala Blasters visit to Bengaluru FC, coach Eelco Schattorie explained his engagement with fans on Twitter, criticism and Jairo's injury status.

Eelco Schattorie feels its part of his role as a coach to educate the fans.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Eelco Schattorie's Twitter page makes for interesting reading. The Kerala Blasters coach is never shy of engaging with fans, whether he is explaining why a player did not start, or defending another who did, or offering theories on Asian football. Dealing with criticism cannot be easy. And satisfying Kerala's madly passionate supporters is a task a number of coaches have failed at. But Schattorie has no complaints.

"I often get questioned why I interact on social media," he said ahead of Kerala's clash with Bengaluru FC here. "I think it's also part of my role to try to educate [the fans], to explain things, without going into too much detail. I'm not going to get into arguments on Twitter. But I do think sometimes you need to explain to get everybody together. Supporters are a part of football. As a coach, besides forming my team, it is also [important] to interact with the supporters."

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Criticism from supporters, although difficult to take, was a part of football, Schattorie admitted. "It's very simple. If you go to the doctor and the doctor gives you a prescription and says, 'You have this, this and this,' you follow the prescription and move on. When a coach gets time to build his team, and he takes his decisions, it is sometimes unbelievable...the thought process of the people and the questions they have...but again that's part of football. A coach always discusses. When he wins it's fine. When he loses, he did something wrong, but I'm used to this," he said.

At Friday's pre-match press conference, Schattorie was asked for clarity on Jairo Rodrigues's injury. The Brazilian defender limped off in the draw against Odisha FC with a hamstring complaint, with the club later stating that he was out for an "extended period" and that it was "actively looking for a replacement, ISL regulations permitting". However, Rodrigues put out a seemingly contradictory post on social media soon after, announcing that he would be back on the field in two weeks.

Schattorie confirmed that Jairo was still with the club, but did not seem enthused about the prospect of his continued presence at Kerala Blasters. "Jairo arrived with an injury on the first day," he said. "It did not show right away. He played his first game in Dubai, and there was a scan made which showed a third-grade meniscus tear. I give only praise for his character, in the way he played through it from pre-season till now. He had a good attitude on the field.

"But he was trying to patch up that meniscus injury all the time, taking an injection. That led to a new injury, a hamstring injury. That hamstring injury can be solved, but that meniscus injury is a problem. We had a new scan which showed it hadn't improved. We are trying to solve that problem and hopefully, it will be solved. That's the only thing I can say. He's still with Kerala Blasters but we're trying to solve that problem...in whatever possible [way]."

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