Captain Manpreet says converting opportunities will be key in FIH Series Finals

The top two teams from each of the three legs of the FIH Series final will qualify to play in the 2019 FIH Men's Olympics Qualifiers later this year

India's skipper since May 2017, Manpreet Singh was named Asia's junior player of the year in 2014   -  Getty Images

Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh on Tuesday said that converting opportunities into goals will be crucial in the FIH Series Finals, their starting point for 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification. The tournament's India leg runs from 6 June to 15 June in Bhubaneshwar.

Speaking about the importance of the tournament, Manpreet said that the Indian players would want to convert whatever chances they get. Converting opportunities has been a factor where India has struggled in important games of late.

“This tournament is important for us as we can qualify for the Olympics from here only. So we will take one match at a time and go match by match. Our focus is to gain our confidence level, put up a good performance and win by a good score,” Manpreet told reporters.

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“We want to capitalise on the chances that we get and convert them into goals and strengthen our defence.”

Experienced defender Birendra Lakra has been named as the vice-captain of the team. The tournament is going to be played on his home turf.

According to Lakra, the team has got a good mix of youth and experience.

“There has been a problem in scoring goals and restricting the opponents from scoring in the last few minutes. The new coach (Graham Reid) is helping us understand the problem through video analysis,” Lakra said.

“Till we end our practice session, we keep trying to improve the goal-scoring by ourselves in the last few minutes and restricting the opponents from scoring towards the end as well,” he said.