Stephen Constantine: We didn't disappoint anyone else but ourselves

Following India's narrow 1-2 defeat to Maldives in the final of the SAFF Cup in Dhaka, coach Stephen Constantine, has said that the team “didn’t do enough to win the game”.

Asked whether there was a tinge of complacency amongst the boys, having trumped the same opponent in the group stage, Constantine said,“I don’t think there was a question of underestimating the Maldives at any point of time.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Following India's narrow 1-2 defeat to Maldives in the final of the SAFF Cup in Dhaka, coach Stephen Constantine, has said that the team didn’t disappoint anyone but itself as it “didn’t do enough to win the game”.

“We didn’t play the game according to our potential and that’s where the lack of experience matters. We weren’t able to replicate our performance from the semifinals (against Pakistan) and that’s what seems to happen when you play with younger boys.

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"They don’t have the consistency and the experience to play at the same level every game but they’ll learn from this. I think we didn’t disappoint anyone else but ourselves. We didn’t do enough to win the game but we move on from here”, Constantine said.

“The way they performed and delivered in the last 10-12 days, I’m extremely proud of them. They are the future of India football for the next 6-8 years. I’m extremely proud of the boys and it’s going to be a good learning experience for them”, Constantine added.

Asked whether there was a tinge of complacency amongst the boys, having trumped the same opponent in the group stage, Constantine said,“I don’t think there was a question of underestimating the Maldives at any point of time.

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"Maldives had our full respect but we couldn’t do what we were capable of doing. The Maldives deserve the credit for sitting back and keeping on frustrating us in the way we play.”

“We were impatient a few times and lost the balls quite a few times to lose the control of the game. Moreover, two silly mistakes cost us heavily as they fired two decisive goals. That’s football and we learn from this”, he added further.

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Constantine pointed out that the players' movements were ‘fantastic’ against Pakistan but they were not able to replicate the same in the final.

“Although some of the players were good, others were not. Had our movement been good enough, we could have won the game”, the coach lamented.

Lallianzuala Chhangte, who appeared to have added more flair in the attacking third in the group stage, as well as semifinals, was suspended in the final owing to the marching orders that he received against Pakistan.

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“After beating Pakistan, we were not going to change the team and he (Chhangte) would have only started at the bench. But, would he have added something more? Absolutely. We did miss him but I would say again, he was not going to start the game," Constantine said.

“We scored 8 goals in 4 games which I don’t feel is bad. Yes, we couldn’t score enough tonight. Had we scored 15 minutes sooner, maybe, that could have been a different game.

"Maldives defended well till the end and went on to win the trophy. I would like to congratulate them on this achievement.”

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