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Coach Harendra promises better showing
January 08, 2004 19:12 IST
Coach Harendra Singh has promised an improved performance by his inexperienced side in the remaining matches of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament after the 1-3 defeat to Germany on Thursday.
"As I had said before the match, against the Europeans, the first 10 minutes are always crucial. And today we conceded two soft penalty-corner goals and we could not fully recover from these reverses," said Harendra said after the match.
"But, overall, I thought our boys played well, especially defender William Xalco, goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh and Sandeep Singh."
He pointed out that the Indians missed a couple of sitters and German goalkeeper Arnold Clemens, rated the best in the World, came up with a few good saves.
"All these factors made a difference to the outcome of the match. Though I am disappointed at the defeat, I am quite satisfied with the overall performance of the side, especially the younger players.
"I am sure, they will improve as the tournament progresses. The early goals shook their confidence, but if you take those two goals aside, I thought we matched the Germans," he said.
On tomorrow's match against Pakistan, Harendra predicted a close contest between the arch-rivals.
"As usual, it will be a close match. I saw a bit of Pakistan's game against Korea today. They have changed their style after Roelant Oltmans [of Holland] took over as coach. But they still look pretty sharp on the counter-attack. But I think our boys will be able to give a good show tomorrow," he said.
German coach Bernhard Peters said he was expecting his side to win by a bigger margin.
"I was quite disappointed that we could not convert on the couple of chances that came our way and the Indian defence also performed well against us after the two early goals," he added.
"However, I expect my team to improve as we progress in the tournament."
Peters said the change in climate could have affected the performance of his players.
"All the players are coming out of the winter season, and they are still to get acclimatized to the climatic changes. It was sub-zero back in Germany and here it is quite warm and humid."