King's Cup: No fear of results in early stages, says Igor Stimac

The Indian head coach stated that instead of fearing results in the early stages of a new system, he wants to have an injury-free squad ahead of the Intercontinental Cup next month.

Igor Stimac's first match in charge of the Indian team ended in a loss, against Curacao.   -  AIFF Media

After losing to Curacao in the King's Cup opener, India is pitted against Thailand in the third-place playoff match.

Earlier this year, India had defeated Thailand 4-1 in the AFC Asian Cup group stage, wherein Sunil Chhetri struck twice, and Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua found a goal each.

Heading into the match on June 8, coach Stimac said he wants to build on the positives from the defeat against Curacao - particularly the second half performance, which showed signs of improvement.

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"We want to try a different approach and structure to the one that was played in earlier times. Despite us losing the previous match, the fans were happy with the style of play against a strong team like Curacao. Our intention shall remain the same against Thailand," he said.

The Croat said one can expect players who didn't feature against Curacao, to get a chance in the clash against Thailand. "I treat all players the same and all of them have been working hard since we got together. Tomorrow, I shall give chances to other players as well so that we have harder selection decisions to make in the future."

"We are still in the early stages and there is no fear of getting results at this time. It's important for us to be free of injury concerns so that we can continue our preparation ahead of the Hero Intercontinental Cup in India."

As many as six players, namely - Brandon Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Raynier Fernandes, Michael Soosairaj and Sahal Abdul Samad - made their national team debuts on Wednesday against Curacao.

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Stimac branded their introduction as one of the positives from the match. "We had six players make their debuts for India on Wednesday which is fantastic for Indian football. The introduction of youngsters is important, and they are our real strength," said.

Further, he added, "I want to awaken the hearts of Indian people and want my team to play in a manner the fans can enjoy. Results may suffer at the start but what is important is that we have a positive environment."

Centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, who featured in India's Asian Cup win against Thailand, mentioned that while the 4-1 victory was great, the upcoming encounter will be totally different.

"It was a great result for us in the AFC Asian Cup but now things have changed on both sides. We shall step on to the pitch tomorrow with the right character and determination, and play according to our plan," he said.

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Thailand's Supachai Chaided, who played in the Asian Cup match against India in UAE, stated that he hopes Thailand make use of the home advantage.

"India are still a strong team, and it is extremely important for us to play with full concentration. This time, we will have the home advantage and we hope to make use of it to get the right result."

India vs Thailand will be held at the Chang Arena on June 8, Saturday. The match will kick off at 2 PM IST and will be telecast live on Star Sports 3. The match can also be streamed live on Hotstar.

Fans can also follow all updates from the match on Sportstar's live blog.

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