India vs China: We're a difficult team to beat, claims coach Stephen Constantine after draw
The Indian national football team's head coach Stephen Constantine felt that India are no pushovers after their 0-0 draw with China in an international friendly in Suzhou.
Speaking at the official post-match press conference, Constantine said: “We have shown in the last four years that we are a very difficult team to beat. We may not have the quality which some of the other teams in Asia have. But I stand for my team physically and competitively against any team in Asia. The boys were outstanding today.
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"It was a very exciting match. Both teams tried to score. Of course, China had more possession and opportunities and we had expected this.
“We came here to give a good performance and the main thing for us was to get used to the standard of Football which we would face in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in UAE,” he added.
Constantine conveyed that he will continue to field young players in future games.
“Congratulations to all the players. Five of them who ended the game are U-23 players and two who started were U-23 players as well. That’s my policy – to develop young players and give them more opportunities,” he maintained.
The coach also lauded the performance of goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who had to make more than just a couple of saves throughout the 90 minutes. Gurpreet had a busy day and was called into the action often. But he took the pressure well and saved India the blushes.
“I feel Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) is an outstanding talent. He was three years in Norway and definitely played his role today in keeping a clean sheet for us,” Constantine certified.
“Sandesh Jhingan is a fighter. He puts his boy on the line and gave everything on the pitch as all the other boys to too. Playing for India is the best possible situation and we appreciate that,” the coach quipped.
Referring to India’s game plan, informed that the plan was to keep it “tight.”
“Our shape was very compact The distance between the defenders and the midfielders was tight. We didn’t allow much space to our rivals.”