Floyd Pinto: No time to sulk, India has to pick up and dust itself

After the loss to Uzbekistan, the India U-19 team is determined to do everything it takes to ensure a victory over Saudi Arabia in the AFC U-19 Championships 2020 Qualifiers.

Gearing up: The Indian team plays its next contest against Saudi Arabia at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Khobar on Friday. Photo: AIFF Media

The Indian team has to brush aside the disappointment of the loss against Uzbekistan and “pick up and dust” itself for the upcoming contest against Saudi Arabia in the AFC U-19 Championships 2020 Qualifiers, says head coach Floyd Pinto.

In its opening match of the competition on Wednesday, India fell to a 2-0 defeat.

“It was not the result that we wanted. But there's no time to sulk on the first loss. We have to pick-up and dust ourselves. The recovery process has started and all the players are determined to do everything it takes to win the next match,” he told AIFF.

Pinto admitted his team will face a strong opponent in Saudi Arabia, which clinched the AFC U-19 Championship title in 2018. “Even though they won (against Afghanistan) 1-0 through a penalty kick, they dominated the game from start to finish and should have scored many more goals. As expected, it will be a difficult game against them. I am confident that the players will recover from the previous result — both physically and mentally — and continue to put their best efforts in,” he said.

'Lapse of concentration'

Pinto stressed on the importance of retaining composure and focus throughout the game. In the contest against Uzbekistan, India fell away in the second half after a balanced first half. “I cannot blame the players for the effort put in. We played a good first-half but in the second, we started slowly, dropped too deep and gave the ball away too much. There was one of lapse of concentration and they scored,” Pinto said, referring to that contest.

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According to 18-year-old Jitendra Singh, who led the Indian team to the SAFF U-19 title earlier this year, it is the “small things” that enable faster recovery for a player. “It is extremely important to recover well for the next match. We came to Dammam a few days in advance, which helped us acclimatise well and will come in really handy as we get back in shape. It is the small stuff — like taking the right amount of water, the right food, getting adequate rest and listening to one's body — that is important during recovery and I'm sure all the players will be at their 100 percent levels ahead of the game,” Jitendra said.

'Cannot afford silly mistakes'

Looking ahead to the upcoming challenge, he said, “We cannot afford to make any silly mistakes or we will be punished. After the Uzbekistan result, all the players are determined to correct their errors and get a good result against the home team. The first match is history now — all our focus is on the next game and we are looking to put our best foot forward.”

The match will be played at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Khobar. It begins at 9.35pm IST.

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