David Platt: Indian footballers need experience

"The Indian players need experience. You can play 50 games or 300 games; it all depends on what you take out of the game with respect to being honest with yourself and thinking about what you would have done differently," said David Platt.

Won four, drew three and lost seven. David Platt's FC Pune City finished seventh in the league standings.   -  SPORTZPICS

David Platt, who was capped 62 times by England between 1989 and 1996, 19 of which he captained, completed his engagements as the head coach of FC Pune City on Saturday, after his team lost a closely-fought contest against Chennaiyin FC at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex.

Eliminated from the semi-final play offs of the Hero ISL when his charges lost 2-3 to North East United FC at Guwahati, Platt’s pride would have been hurt when his team went down to Marco Materazzi’s team by a late goal scored by Jeje.

David Platt pointed out his team was probably over-played in the last few days but gave them credit for their spirit. “First and foremost, 72 hours ago we went out of the competition. As a professional, that is a big debt for you. We travelled back the next day and did light training yesterday. For the players to go out and play well in a game which was point-wise meaningless speaks volumes for them,” the manager said.

The Englishman, who has been a coaching staff of Sampdoria, Nottingham Forest, England under-21 and Manchester City, admitted that fatigue could have been the biggest reason for his side’s loss.

“We controlled the first half, but Chennai had dangerous players. We did well in the second half too, but we went a goal down. That more or less coincided with fatigue setting in. Once Chennai got the goal they sat down and defended deep and it was like a brick wall to penetrate, especially when you are tired and have no energy left,” said Platt.

Platt had earlier rejected offers from Roberto Mancini to be with him at Galatasaray and Inter Milan and instead he chose to spend time in India with the aim of helping Indian football grow. Describing his experience in India he said: “I have enjoyed my time here. The results have not been that great for us. At the start of the season, yes they were, but not later.

"When you are winning games, it is a lot better than when you are losing games. I am very disappointed for everyone involved with this football club. It is about the experience. I will go away and introspect. You have to be brutally honest. I have been brutally honest with myself. The football club gave me more or less carte blanche to more or less decide which players to get, tactics and team selection etc. Hence this all lies with me. I won’t shy away from responsibilities. This is all my responsibility.”

For two months he saw Indians in his team and other teams in action. When asked what he thought of the Indian players in the context of skill and knowledge of the game, Platt was matter of fact in his assessment.

“The Indian players need experience. You can play 50 games or 300 games; it all depends on what you take out of the game with respect to being honest with yourself and thinking about what you would have done differently. Experiences in situations matter and it's not easy for players who lack such experience.

“When you win you are in the top four when you are on a slide, you lose momentum. In a league where matches happen in such a short space of time, you might find yourself dropping down the table. Therefore the experience of handling the situation and now going into a football game that really have anything for you is that matters.

“It’s also the experience of playing with foreign stars who will exploit any tactical error out of their experience. So that's going to take time. The higher level of football you play, the stronger you become providing the difficult times you subject yourself to. You cannot expect that to happen in two years. It is not enough that they play 15-20 games at the highest level. Therefore it still very early days. You improve if you get playing at the top games all the time,’’ said the manager.

Platt was impressed with FC Pune City player Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Mumbai City FC’s Sunil Chhetri. “I have worked with players on a daily basis and in the process you see all the qualities they have got and the potential as well. Lyngdoh is the first name that came to my mind. I am biased because I have worked with him on a daily basis. I believe he has quality and with experiences of games and mentality fluctuations, he will take on and become a better player as well. He is a bright boy. He has impressed me.

“If I had to pick another one, I would pick Sunil Chhetri. I think he plays at the sharp end normally dominated by foreigners in a team. He is an all round player and he's got six goals. He sacrifices himself for the team playing all over the pitch and the way he handled himself all over the pitch was testament for all footballers,” added the manager.

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