India football team coach Igor Stimac believes his team is on the right path despite a poor start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. The Blue Tigers are currently fourth in Group E and must endure at least a second-place finish if they harbour any hopes of qualifying to the next round.

Having acquired just three points after three draws and a loss in their qualifying campaign so far, India face two tough away tests against Oman and Qatar. They are currently six points behind Oman, who are placed second on the table.

“We all knew that before the games started that Qatar and Oman were favourites to progress from the group. I joined the team in May with a clear plan of restructuring the game, stabilising the game, improving on certain points and making sure that India participates continuously in the final stages of the Asian Cup and hopefully preparing ourselves for the 2026 World Cup,” Stimac said at the pre-match press conference ahead of India’s match against Oman on Monday.

The Croatian pointed out how better his team was performing compared to their previous qualifier campaign under Stephen Constantine, where they finished bottom of their group with just three points.

“Three years ago, India suffered seven losses and one win. Now after four games we have only one loss but also three draws without any win. We improved a lot on our gameplan. In regards to ball possession, creating chances and all other aspects in the game. I consider us to be a very difficult team to beat but we are still not a team that I’m going to say are capable of winning games easily,” he added.

The India coach also advised fans to tone down expectations from the team and focus on the big picture.

“It takes time and football is a process. It is more difficult in the national team which is not operating on a daily basis like a club. We are a football giant. It just a question of when we are going to be woken up in a proper way and start building upon the structured work,” he explained.

He added, “We are on the right path, we are not rushing up. Some of our supporters are creating unrealistic expectation after winning a point against Qatar. But that’s not realistic and we need to keep our feet on the ground. We know what to expect and how we are going to get there.”