Adapting to different coaching styles not difficult, says Manpreet

Indian men's hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh insisted that new coach Graham Reid is not trying to change too much within the team.

Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh feels that Graham Reid is all about improving finishing and strengthening defence.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Over the last five years, the head coach position of the Indian men's hockey team has resembled a revolving door. The team went through three coaches in the past 12 months, with the frequent changes now a matter of routine. Former Australia coach Graham Reid was appointed as the head coach in April which was left vacant following Harendra Singh's resignation in January. Adapting to varying coaching styles and philosophies may appear to be a tough task for players, but Manpreet Singh disagrees.

"It's not difficult at all," the Indian captain says. "Whenever a [foreign] coach comes to India he tries to see what India's best qualities are and he wants to retain them. So far, we've never found it hard to adjust to any coach. Because coaches adapt to the team they have; they don't have one fixed style they impose on all teams. They always take their time and see what they have to do. It's the same with Graham."

Reid has sought to make the most of India's attacking strengths while building on the defence, says Manpreet.

"Graham has been watching India for some time. He's not trying to change much. He believes that our finishing and our defending have to improve."

WATCH | Manpreet Singh: Patient and optimistic Graham Reid understands his players

"He sees that we are good at attacking and counter-attacking. We have quick forwards; so his idea is for us to move the ball forward as quickly as possible. The higher up the pitch we play, the better it is for us," the midfielder said, after a training session at the Sports Authority of India Centre, Bengaluru.

Working with Reid has apparently been enjoyable.

"He's a friendly man," says Manpreet. "He talks to all of us. He spends time with us off the field too."

India will travel to Japan next month, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Test Event, before preparing for the all-important Olympic qualifiers, to be played in October-November.

The identity of India's opponent in the two-legged affair is not yet known, but Manpreet is not worried.

"I know it's a matter of qualifying for the Olympics but we shouldn't come under pressure," he says.

"We just want to play our best hockey. If we are at our best, we can beat any team in the world. We are not worried about who our opponent is going to be. No matter who we play, we are confident we can win."