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We can put strong teams under pressure on our day: Matos

26   //    28 Sep 2017, 20:43 IST

(Eds: Updating with team training, quotes of an official)

New Delhi, Sep 28 (PTI) Entering the FIFA U-17 World Cup as the underdogs, India coach Luis Norton de Matos today said his players can give strong teams "a run for their money" on their day.

India are clubbed with Colombia, USA and Ghana in Group A of the tournament starting October 6.

"If we play to the best of our abilities, we can put a lot of good teams under pressure and give them a run for their money. On our day, we can put strong teams under pressure," Matos said.

"Even if there is five percent chance of winning a match we will fight for the margin and try to extend it."

Matos was appointed head coach in March this year and in a short span of time, he has tried to build a team ready to fight the best, and the Portuguese is now optimistic.

"The players are very focused and are very proud to play for the country. All players are perhaps going to give their 200 percent and will play to the best of their abilities. It is evident that they are raring to go."

The India U-17 side is currently training at the Conscient Football ground in Gurugam.

"The boys know the meaning and sentiment of wearing a national team jersey in a mega tournament like the FIFA World Cup. The sentiment of wearing the national colors and giving your all for the country runs deep in this team.

"In football anything is possible and we will take to the field keeping in mind that fact, to show the world that we belong on the same stage as them."

The Indian Colts face USA on October 6, before locking horns against Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Meanwhile, the players had their second training session after reaching here from Goa. They trained for nearly two hours under the watchful eyes of de Matos.

The team will continue to train at Conscient Football ground in Gurugam till October 1 before shifting to New Delhi to use one of the four designated training facilities.

The team's mental conditioning coach Swaroop Savanur said that the players have been made to understand that they will play against tougher opponents in the tournament.

"The players have accepted that they are going to play against tough teams. The coaching staff have made them to understand that it is going to be tough for them. So, they are conditioned with that mental frame," Savanur said at the training ground.

"It is a well knit unit, a cohesive bunch of players. They are now ready for the tournament."

Savanur was with the Vidarbha Ranji cricket team from 2013 to 2016 and joined the U-17 football team from February this year.

"I am happy to have joined these youngsters. It is a small history that the Indian football team for the first time is having a mental conditioning coach," he said.

Talking about tackling pressure, he said, "For any competitive sport pressure is always a part. I have been telling the players to accept pressure and not run away from it, enjoy it and learn to perform under pressure. I want to demystify this mental and psychological part of pressure."

Asked what he has taught to the players, Savanur said, "The mental aspect of the game is very important. I work under different situations, before the match, after the match. I have one-to-one formal and structured talks with players or I will have informal talks with them.

"I have taught breathing practices, 5 to 7 breathing, thought control, using self talk among others

Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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