King's Cup: Stimac pleased to have competition for every place after win over Thailand

India football team coach Igor Stimac was also pleased with the defensive display against Thailand after he made eight changes to the side which lost to Curacao in the King's Cup.

Igor Stimac has handed six international debuts in his first two games in charge of the Indian team.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

India registered its first victory under new coach Igor Stimac with a 1-0 win over Thailand as it sealed a third-place finish in the King's Cup on Saturday.

Stimac was pleased with the display from a second-string side which took the field after he decided to ring in eight changes from the 3-1 defeat to Curacao.

REPORT | India defeats Thailand to clinch third spot

"We have so many young players in the team. Today, we only had three players (Anirudh Thapa, Sandesh Jhingan and Subhasih Bose) from the team that played Thailand (4-1 win) in the AFC Cup. It's a big change. As a final result, I have what I wanted to have in my first phase of work. I have competition in my team for every place," said the Croatian.

Although India conceded three goals inside 32 minutes against Curacao, Stimac shed light on the defensive organisation he has been striving to achieve with the side in the lead up to the tournament. Adil Khan, who returned to the national set-up after a gap of 2,644 days, was influential in the center-back roles effecting crucial last-ditch tackles and interventions.

"I was a defender playing at the top level. I can show a few things and how to work on the weaknesses. That's what we have been doing last two weeks; explaining things and working things on the pitch and the result today was massive. We got a clean sheet," said the former West Ham United player.

After Anirudh Thapa gave India the lead in the 17th minute, Thailand dominated possession and created plenty of chances putting its opponent under plenty of pressure without much luck in front of goal.

Adil Khan put in a superb shift at center-back as India held on for a clean-sheet.


Stimac explained, "After we scored, we gave away possession to Thailand and we tried to wait and hurt them on counter-attacks. And we had one situation (Farukh Choudhary and Balwant Singh), our two attackers were a bit indecisive in front of goal. We could have finished the game in the first half.

"In the second half, Thailand played well and were organised. They were playing from the sides and putting quality crosses. but my defenders were top class today. It wasn't possible for them to score with my defenders working like this."

RE-LIVE | Thailand 0-1 India: As it happened

Tweak in tactics

He also added that he tweaked his tactics mid-game in order to avoid mistakes with the inexperienced players in his side.

"We were better in possession; we were passing and moving better than Thailand. I changed few things on purpose after we scored the goal because we had many inexperienced players, who can lose their heads during the game. So I wanted to give a free (reign) to Thailand to pass and move from the back and (for us) to concentrate on closing the gaps in the middle," Stimac said.

After his first win on the job, Stimac thanked the support he received from India despite the defeat to Curacao.

"I want to thank everyone from India, who were supportive and positive even after the defeat to Curacao. They were happy about how we played and how we organise on the pitch. I can promise that I will be doing that in the future as well," he said.

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