Football

The legs weren’t sharp enough, says Stimac

The Indian team faltered in its task of initiating effective build-ups from the back and that primarily foiled its aim of picking up a victory against visiting Bangladesh in the Group ‘E’ qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday, felt head coach Igor Stimac.

Analysing how his side capitulated to an overtly defensive opponent, the Croatian World Cupper said in the post-match briefing that his players showed enough potential but their “legs weren’t sharp enough” to effectuate the desired finishing.

Decoding the team’s poor conversion record in the striking zone, Stimac said his players showed “poor decision making” owing to lack of experience and that further impaired their finishing ability.

“Our learning process consists of analyzing the games after we play them. They (the players) will find out that their decision-making was poor. The legs weren’t sharp enough and we still don’t have the needed experience,” Stimac said.

“You could see the talent and potential they have. Let’s be supportive to them. I think they’ll be okay as they are improving with each game,” the coach tried to put the development process in perspective.

The talk on mistakes stemmed from some glaring goof-ups committed by the defence, one of which was by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The seasoned goalkeeper fluffed an easy clearance, thereby allowing Bangladesh forward Saaduddin to nod home the lead late in the first-half.

“We conceded a very silly goal and when you concede goals like that, you cannot expect to win the game,” Stimac said. “You could see that India is playing different football which is about being more technical in approach. The result showed that there’s still much work to be done.”

“I told our players before the game that against a team like Bangladesh, who will defend with at least nine players, our passing should be quick from the back. For some reason, our defenders weren’t doing that and they kept the ball for a long time and that isn’t acceptable,” Stimac said.

Feeling that a victory would have been the best offering, Stimac applauded the more than 60,000 crowd that came to support the national team.

“All the appreciation must be given to the crowd. This was an amazing day for Indian football. Many of these players won’t forget this ambiance and this support. I will remember it as one of the biggest games in my professional coaching career,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:45:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/the-legs-werent-sharp-enough-says-stimac/article29705090.ece

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