The Indian coach was happy to hand debuts to 10 Indian players in the international friendly tie against Oman…
A second-half goal from Manvir Singh helped India hold Oman to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly on Thursday in Dubai.
The Blue Tigers played an international match after 492 days and played against a team that were 23 places above them in the FIFA rankings.
Coach Igor Stimac was not particularly happy with the way his team played in the first half as he pointed out that the Indian players kept losing possession of the ball. But the Croatian coach also heaped praise on the 10 players who made their debuts for the Blue Tigers.
What did Stimac say
“One good thing about the match was the result. To be honest, I was more than worried after the first 45 minutes because we couldn’t find a way to hold the ball, we couldn’t find a player except for Suresh (Wangjam), who was the youngest one, to take the responsibility to try and pass the ball the way we were doing in training. But Oman used this little wind in the first half. Also, it was not easy after they put pressure on our back four, to kick the ball out and get out of your own half.
“But the whole team reacted well in the second half, they did their best, they tried everything. We had some good transition which I was looking for. In the end, I was happy because 10 debutants played, 10 new faces, some of them with lots of minutes on the pitch. They all did their part against Oman,” opined Stimac.
The Croatian coach also suggested that the Indian players need to be physically stronger in order to play against tough international opponents like Oman.
“You could see that we need more muscle on the team. You could see how strong the Oman side is how good their tacklers are. They pass and move very quickly. We have some very quick players in our team but they couldn’t run away from the Omani defenders. There is a lot of hard work in front of us. We need to bring some muscle to our bodies and keep working hard,” stated the India head coach.
‘Play without fear’
The former Croatian international also mentioned that he expects his players to remain fearless in matches and not think about the end result as he suggested that it is his job to worry about the final outcome.
“We didn’t do two basic things which I had asked them to do. We didn’t put pressure on the players with the ball in our half and we didn’t stay too far from their players when they were creating on their build-up and that created a lot of problems. They were rising up in confidence, we were very low with confidence. I told them one thing, the result is something that I need to care about, not you. You need to come out and play without fear.
“Go out and express yourself but do it without fear. In the first half, the individual intensity from Manvir or Ashique was not at the level we were looking for. We need to get out and go in transition as a group, (like) what we were doing in the second half,” said Stimac.
Stimac also took away positives from the second-half performance of the team and believes that his team can get a positive result against a stronger opposition like UAE.
“In the second half, we showed that we have nothing to fear. Of course, these are better sides because when you get into the top 100, the difference of 25 to 30 spots is a big difference. There is still a big gap between UAE or Oman and us but that does not mean we cannot get the result. We can get the result. We showed it today also. We have another game and I need to give chance to the rest of the players.”