The Croatian coach mentioned that the level of football in ISL and international is different…
Igor Stimac’s India will focus on getting the three points when they take on Bangladesh in the SAFF Championship 2021 at the National Football Stadium in Male on Monday evening. The Croatian coach did not mince words to express that India will adopt a pragmatic approach against the Bangla Tigers that will help them win, rather than trying `to experiment.
What did Igor Stimac say on India’s style of play?
“We will be playing in a style that will bring us results. There was one counterattack by Nepal and they won the game. Whereas Maldives was the better team. On the other hand, Bangladesh won the game courtesy of a funny penalty. We don’t know what each game will bring. We will adapt to everything that is thrown at us,” he stated.
“We are doing well. In such conditions, we are happy to participate in the tournament. We are determined to represent India in a good manner and deliver what is expected from us on the pitch. We have all the information we need. We are working on not changing our game irrespective of the opponents we face. The SAFF Cup puts us in a good position to do that and for us to win it.”
How will India cope in the absence of Sandesh Jhingan and Rowllin Borges?
“Not only Sandesh, but we are also missing Borges and Ashique (Kuruniyan). But we cannot think about that. We have other players here who can cover those positions. It is always difficult to replace a leader and Sandesh is one of them. We are going to miss him but we need to replace him as a team together for the 90 minutes.”
Why did India not hold a national camp before SAFF?
“SAFF & AFC are forced to do competitions outside FIFA window. Then the clubs are forced to release players. We had several meetings with FSDL and ISL clubs. Club coaches also want their players for ISL preparation. It was not easy. So we decided to give up on camp and they released the players for international matches outside the window.”
How have India prepared in Maldives?
“We need to understand that the game starts right from the first second. We need to organize our game from the beginning. We came here only four days before. We have to travel to Male on speed boats to Male. There are artificial turfs are. We are protecting our players so that they do not get injured. We are playing for 15-20 minutes, working on set pieces. Not much we can do over here. Trying to get across to them the different game situations. We want to enjoy the tournament and not have any nervousness.”
“We rely mostly on Bengaluru and ATKMB players as they have played here just a few weeks before. Moreover, they were in training all throughout. This is not the case with other players. We have to be careful as to how many minutes we give each player. “
What did Igor Stimac say on the difference in the level of ISL and international football?
“I have taken over two years ago. But I have not been able to spend much time with the players. Against Oman and Qatar, we had time to prepare and select our players. Not everyone understands that we don’t get enough time. It is a different story while most of them are playing ISL. In international football, there is much lesser time and space to operate. There’s no one to blame. Hopefully, the pandemic ends and we get to play eight months of football.