"Before the start of the season, there were comments that NorthEast have a very weak defence, but we have conceded the least goals," said Schattorie.
Schattorie's side have the best defensive record in the league this time around with just 18 goals conceded in as many games. And five of them came in a game against FC Goa where they had run rampant.
Given the kind of personnel they have had in defence and the injury concerns, the achievement is even more astonishing. Initially, Mislav Komorski and Mato Grgic played a huge part with the Croatian defenders forming an excellent partnership in central defence. But the rest of the defensive personnel would not have inspired much confidence.
Reagan Singh, Robert Lalthlamuana and Keegan Pereira were all coming after average campaigns. Provat Lakra was playing his first ISL season.
But the full-backs gave a solid account of themselves. Pawan Kumar and Gurwinder Singh were the other options in central defence. But while Pawan has barely played in the top division in the last few years, Gurwinder's stock had come down considerably, especially after East Bengal let him go last season.
Schattorie's side would have been wondering what to do next when Komorski was ruled out for the season with an injury. But Gurwinder has since filled that void.
Now, there is another defensive problem for the play-offs. Gurwinder was sent off in the concluding league clash against Kerala Blasters FC, leaving Schattorie with plenty to think ahead of the semifinal battle against Bengaluru FC.
Despite the early injury and now Gurwinder's suspension, maybe, just like the entire season, NorthEast will again find a way to strengthen their defence in the semifinals.