Nobbs happy with team's progress

While largely pleased with the progress the team has shown under him, there are areas that need work, feels National hockey coach Michael Nobbs.

Speaking to the press at the Sports Authority of India here on Monday, where the National camp is underway, Nobbs said the defence would have to improve. “I don't think we're ruthless enough in defence yet,” he said. “It was one of the goals I had set out when I first arrived.”

Crediting Dilip Tirkey with having a significant impact on the defence, Nobbs said he would ask for his assistance at the camp again.

“Dilip has done a fantastic job with the defenders in a short period and I will be having him here to help me out.”

The Australian felt there had been some improvement already, with both Sandeep Singh and V.R. Raghunath fitter and more mobile than before.

Defenders backed

Nobbs also sought to take some of the blame off the defence, saying that the team's attacking instincts naturally meant that it would concede a few goals. “You have to understand that we're an attacking team. We'll try and hit more goals than our opposition. It does leave us somewhat exposed in defence occasionally.”

Although the camp has begun, the 18 that played in the Olympic qualifiers will only report on Thursday. Also arriving will be junior team coaches Baljeet Singh Saini, Jugraj Singh and Sandeep Sangwan. “The focus of this camp is just to build on our fitness levels and our patterns of play. We won the Olympic qualifiers final against France 8-1 and I felt we could have got more, say 15 goals, had we concentrated and executed our plans to the hilt. In Delhi we tried to earn more penalty corners as some of the teams were defensive. We should have scored more field goals and that is one area which we will address in the run up to the London.

“This camp is also oriented towards strength, speed and fitness at this stage. Because it's too late if you want to develop all that 30 days out from the Olympics, whereas if you do the work now, we can maintain and keep it that way.”

Strength defended

Nobbs defended the eventual strength of the camp (48 players), explaining that he had to prepare for the unforeseen.

“Anything can happen — injury, poor form etc. Someone can break his leg. If you don't prepare for the worst, you'll generally get it.

“Of course we're going to concentrate on the main group but we've got to concentrate on the others as well. If you just prepare 18 players, I guarantee something will go wrong.”

Asked if some of the players involved in the WSH would be considered again, Nobbs was noncommittal.

“I don't know. There has been nothing said at all. I can only coach who I have. We'll see what happens.

“But we're not going to cut our nose off to spite our face. This is an Olympic Games, remember.”

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 6:45:47 AM |

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