Indian football team coach said his players need to cut down on their errors while passing the ball when they take on Oman in the fifth game of the preliminary round of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Seeb on Tuesday.
India are winless in Group E after defeat to Oman in the reverse fixture at home that was followed by three straight draws against Qatar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
After an impressive show in Doha against the Asian champions, The Blue Tigers have been sluggish in the two games against lesser-ranked opposition in Bangladesh and Afghanistan and have needed late goals to salvage draws in those games.
Read: How India can qualify for the next round of World Cup qualifiers and Asian Cup finals
India have struggled to break down teams and the Croatian wants improvements from his team ahead of the Oman clash.
“We are a unit that passes the ball confidently but we have to keep in mind that we are making too many mistakes and giving away possession. We have to work further on this,” Stimac told the All India Football Federation website.
The team reached Muscat on Sunday after a day’s rest in Dubai as the Croatian will have to quickly prepare his side for Oman after the quick turnover from the last game.
“We will have a training session in Muscat today evening to finetune our preparation before taking on Oman. We know how tough the game will be. So we have to make sure all players stay fit and deliver maximum on 19th,” he added.
The 52-year-old was not too concerned about the lack of time for recovery as he believed his squad was fit enough to deal with games coming thick and fast.
“We are physically very fit and the players are not getting bogged down on the pitch or suffering cramps. Conditionally, we’re doing well too. The recovery has been taken care of as per the plan, and that’s the reason players have adapted to different weather conditions naturally.” he said.
After the cold weather in Dushanbe, the temperatures in the Omani capital are expected to be more like home with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Anything other than a win on Tuesday will end India’s hopes of making it to the next round of World Cup qualifiers and thus force them into qualifiers for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Although the Croatian was happy to concede the favourites tag to Oman, he found reasons to believe that his team could spring up a surprise.
“This is a team for the future and we are in the process of becoming a tough team to play against. We had created chances to win every match until now. We even created chances against Qatar in the last minutes. We’re improving gradually and that’s what makes me proud,” the Croatian said.
India play Oman at the Al-Seeb stadium on Tuesday with the game kicking off at 8:30 PM IST.