The second match of the Intercontinental Cup football where a newly-strung Indian side struggled to beat a modest Vanuatu opened a vault of riddles for the national head coach, Igor Stimac.
“Another clean sheet, another win. But many things in the match did not happen as I wanted it to. I will work on those aspects in the coming days,” Stimac sounded concerned after his team’s second outing.
India recorded its seventh straight win at home but it did not happen in an impressive way. Just when Stimac decided to rotate his players making nine changes compared to the side that beat Mongolia 2-0 in the opening match, the team’s performance plummeted.
“What I was not happy about in the match was that we were sloppy. We were slow, especially in switching sides and passing. That is the reason why I was a little angry with the way we were performing,” he said while analysing India’s laboriously earned win.
“Sometimes we have to be there in the right positions and keep moving and passing to find areas from where we can hurt the opponent,” he said pointing out the flaws which were rectified after he made four changes after the hour mark to spruce up the attack.
Realising that the members of the bench needed more preparation, Stimac held out a note of advice. “What I am happy about is the (team’s) consistency in trying and not losing faith in your ability.
“If you are not scoring early you can see how Lebanon suffered (against Mongolia) in the previous match. In the end, our team showed good character today,” Stimac said, hinting at the transformation following the arrival of the likes of Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Jeakson Singh, who turned the match on its head.”
Stimac said there is nothing to be alarmed as it is always wiser to look at the bigger picture.
“I am looking at the bigger picture and not just focusing on one game. We have nine matches in 25 days. I cannot start with the same set of eleven players in every match, then we cannot go much further,” Stimac said.
“After the third match those players who did not find a chance to play lose confidence and interest in competing and those who played the matches are finished and cannot give anything more in these conditions. You just cannot just look at the present 90 minutes. You have to look prior and beyond that and even further at what’s coming in the way,” Stimac added.
“I had previously said that there is a chance that we will be suffering in the first two matches. And then we start rising up in terms of quality and many other aspects related to it. That is how we are programming the 45 to 50 days where we need to be together with nine matches (including the upcoming SAFF championship) to be played,” is how Stimac set out the plan.
“We must also remember that we do not have seven or eight players. Many of them would have been the choices for the first team. So, we are not in the ideal state as the likes of Brandon (Fernandes), Sana (Chinglensana Singh) and (Mohammad) Yasir will be back in the squad soon.
“We also did not have names like Ishan (Pandita), Ashique (Kuruniyan) and (Rahul) Bheke available because of minor injuries. You have to choose and pick from whatever is available,” he clarified about the obstacles that injuries to many of his players are posing to the team selection.
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