Despite registering a convincing 3-1 victory over Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy on Saturday, Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Harendra Singh has said that the strikers need to sharpen up and make decisions efficiently.
Complimenting his team’s performance, Harendra said that the squad deserves full credit, but he was concerned with the finishing as the men took too much time in making decisions.
“I am proud of the manner in which the Indian team staged a comeback. They deserve full credit, but I remain concerned with our finishing,” Harendra said.
“We missed a few chances. We are taking too much time to make decisions. That’s where we need to sharpen up. Any team can score early, but what mattered is how our team came back from the early reversal,” he added.
Skipper Manpreet Singh, who was adjudged ‘the Player of the Match’, said that the team needs to guard against giving away easy opportunities to the rivals.
“Despite playing a good match, there are many things we need to do. We need to guard against conceding easy chances. I do not think we should have conceded that early goal,” Manpreet said.
Pakistan got a penalty corner in the 35th second of the match and capitalised on it to surge ahead. Aleem Bilal’s penalty corner shot was blocked by Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, but Muhammad Irfan Jr. picked up the rebound to shoot home.
India went all out to look for an equaliser, but the opposition packed the defence to keep the strikers at bay until Manpreet scored a fine field goal to equalise in the 24th minute. Mandeep Singh (31st minute) and Dilpreet Singh (42nd minute) scored field goals to seal India’s victory in the six-nation competition’s showpiece fixture of the preliminary league.
“We fell back too much. Any team that is allowed to attack to that extent will get chances. We made it easy for India by withdrawing too much,” Sardar said.
“It was in the second half that we also came out and attacked. In this game, we were good in parts and disorganised in some other parts. From the chances we created, we should have scored two goals.We can play a lot better. We look forward to a more organised game in our next outing,” he added.