• We dominated vs Nepal, but didn't take our chances, says India coach Stephen Constantine

    Rohan KoliMumbaiJun 08, 2017, 06:01 IST

    Indian team in action vs Nepal

    India's head coach Stephen Constantine felt international frinedlies will help improve the team’s performance and will provide opportunities to players who have not played much for the national team. Courtesy goals from Sandesh Jhingan (60th min) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (78th min), the Blue Tigers began their preparation for next week’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyz Republic in style by beating Nepal 2-0 in a friendly tie at Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri last night.

    Need more friendlies
    "We need such friendly games. It is very important for us to give an opportunity to players who have not played much for the national team. Of course, it gets better when you are winning but we got good lessons today. We dominated, but didn’t put away all the chances presented to us. This is why you have these games, to try and improve," he said.

    "The big test obviously will be against Kyrgyzstan next week. It will be a completely different game, a different feeling and atmosphere. FIFA and AFC Qualifiers have a life of their own," the Englishman added.

    Good progress
    The 54-year-old, who was appointed India coach for the second time in 2015, said he was happy to see the team progress in the last couple of years. "It’s good to see the boys winning games after we had a tough beginning in my second stint. We were 173 then. I feel we are on the right track," said Constantine.

    Meanwhile, the gaffer defended his decision to substitute misfiring striker Robin Singh in the second-half, saying it was a pre-planned. The 27-year-old forward missed an opportunity to give India a lead in just the fifth minute. Then again in the 23rd minute, Robin’s header missed the target by inches, while he missed another scoring opportunity in the 33rd minute as his header flew over the bar.

    "Robin is a fighter. He could have scored a hat-trick today, but it didn’t happen. I was always going to change players around. We had six substitutions. It’s not whether he played good or bad, he was always going to be one of the starting XI to come off," the coach explained.

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