India football coach Stephen Constantine said that India’s nine-match winning streak will be meaningless if they fail to qualify for the Asian Cup, reported PTI.
India registered their ninth win on the trot when they beat Mauritius in the tri-nation series opener 2-1. Indian strikers Robin Singh and Balwant Singh scored the goals as India came from behind to register a magnificent win.
“It (nine wins on the trot) makes nothing if we don’t qualify for the Asian Cup, that’s what it means. I am proud to have made this little bit of history but if I don’t qualify for the Asian Cup, what’s the use of nine wins in a row, or 10 or 11 or 12,” said Constantine.
“It is important to win, we want to win to continue to win, but our focus is 1000 % on Macau. We need to get something in that game (against Macau), bring home and finish it (qualify),” he said. India face Macau on September 5.
Talking about India’s performance against Mauritius, Constantine was not happy with the team’s showing in the first half. “I did not like the way we played the first half, I don’t like when we give other team the headstart, we are not the kind of team when we give other team one goal lead and we can play and another day get punished. In the break, I told the boys to buck up in a polite way and they did,” he said.
However, their dominant show in the second half was pleasing to the eye. “Ok, not happy, happy but, I am ok. I have seen Mauritius, I knew they were going to play like this and they perhaps could have played a little bit better. We didn’t do what we normally do, gave them too much respect. We conceded the goal which they deserved, we were fortunate to get the equaliser, we made few change in the second half and we dominated it,” he added.
Constantine praised skipper and central midfielder Sandesh Jhinghan saying he is player ‘who should be playing in bigger league’ and hinting that he will be able to fill in for Sunil Chettri when the time comes. “The captain has to reflect the character of the coach, Sandesh is a fighter just like me. He leads by example and I think when Sunil (Chettri) is ready to packing in, we have one more person who can be captain,” he added.
Constantine hinted that he could make changes for the game against St Kitts and Nevis, scheduled here on August 24.
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