Costantine: We're trying to give as much exposure as possible

Sydney FC coach, Steve Corica, said that the match against India U23 was a good test for his team.

Stephen Constantine says that the India U23 players have worked very hard during the camp in Australia ahead of the SAFF Championship.   -  PTI

Coach Stephen Constantine, who has roped in a majority of U23 players for the forthcoming SAFF Championship, informed that "another group of players" are now better prepared for the future, thanks to more than a month-long preparatory camp in Australia.

"We focus on every single aspect of the game during our camp and we look to work cohesively. We continued the same process with these boys as well and we can say that after the SAFF Championship, we will have another group of players who will be a little more prepared for the future, say the AFC Asian Cup in January", Constantine stated before the team plays its final friendly fixture in Sydney which is scheduled against Rydalmere Lions FC on Friday (August 31).

After mustering a 3-1 win against APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC in the first friendly fixture in Australia, he made five changes in the starting line-up to have a thorough look on every single player at his disposal.

On being asked whether his team is prepared for the test which lies ahead, the coach mentioned, "We had two different games recently but for me, it is about the overall development of the players. We are trying to give as much exposure to as many youngsters as possible."

Read: 'We must be ready for Sydney's challenge'

Moreover, the 55-year-old coach put more stress on the importance of the international fixtures as they carry utmost importance to the development of a player.

"The boys have worked very hard through the camp but I would have really liked more international games", he added further, "We got better as the game (against Sydney FC) progressed and created a few opportunities as well. Overall, we wanted a tough game and we were presented with one. Now, we know more about ourselves as a team and of course, as individuals."

India fought valiantly before going down 0-3 against Sydney FC when newly-signed Adam Le Fondre, Siem De Jong stole the show for the home team.

After locking horns with Rydalmere Lions FC at the Valentine Sports Park in Sydney tomorrow in the final friendly fixture in Sydney, the team will fly to Dhaka to compete in the 12th edition of the SAFF Championship. Tomorrow’s match will kick off at 12:30 PM IST.

'The game was a good test for us'

India U23 boys' gutsy display against the three-time A-League champion Sydney FC has earned it a very special fan, none other than Steve Corica, the head coach of Sydney FC. In an exclusive interview with the AIFF, he labelled Constantine's boys as 'a good side to face' and that the game was nothing less than 'another good step' during the pre-season.

"They were a good side to face and they moved the ball well. they played a compact game which was a good test for our team. We considered this game as another good step in our preparation for the upcoming A-League season."

After conceding two late goals in the first half, the Indian boys showed their diligence in the second half to push the Sky Blues back to its own half. The host found the back of the net once again in the last quarter of the match but Corica had an advice for the boys.

"Just continue to train hard and work on all aspects of the game, keep on improving and striving to be a better player in future."

When asked whether he'd pick a standout performer from the Indian team, he stated that it played the game as a cohesive unit which is the primary aspect of a football team.

"I couldn’t pick one single player, as a unit, they were well-drilled and performed admirably."

Moreover, the former Leicester City midfielder wished the Indian contingent before it heads to Dhaka for the SAFF Championship.

"We wish the Indian U23 side best of luck for the upcoming SAFF Cup and we’re sure they’ll put on a good performance", Corica signed off.

India will kick off its SAFF Suzuki Cup campaign against Sri Lanka on September 5, 2018.

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