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Rajinder happy with team's performance
June 07, 2005 12:29 IST
Last Updated: June 07, 2005 19:04 IST
India's hockey coach Rajinder Singh (Jr) said the team could not have asked for a better finish in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Malaysia, where it played with several newcomers.
India came up with a disappointing performance in Kuala Lumpur, registering just two victories besides suffering four losses to finish fifth in the seven-nation competition, which was won by Australia.
"I am quite happy with the performance. We had several new faces in the team. It was a new experience for them. So, naturally, the pressure was there," Rajinder told reporters at the airport in New Delhi after the team's arrival late Monday night.
After struggling to overcome South Africa in the tournament opener, India fought hard to take a point against New Zealand before four losses on the trot dashed the hopes of a podium finish.
An extra-time goal in the classification match ensured that the team, though inferior to Malaysia throughout the tournament, finished above the hosts and lowly South Africa in the event.
But Rajinder was not ready to concede that India surrendered meekly in the tournament, saying the players put up a fight in most of the matches.
"Except in the match against Malaysia in the league phase India did fight well, particularly against Pakistan and Australia, who were held up till the end," Rajinder said.
"It was a young team and some experienced players were not there, but the boys played quite well," he said, adding the team needed to work on several areas, particularly in defence and the forward line.
Forward Prabhjot Singh blamed lack of coordination among the mid-fielders as the major reason behind the low finish in the tournament.
"There were so many new players in the team so it had its effect. There was also problem in coordination in the mid-field," he said.
The striker, playing his first international tournament since the Athens Olympics, said he was not quite satisfied with his own efforts as well.
"I am making a comeback. I know I could have scored more goals. So I am not very satisfied with my show," he said.