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Glad our plan came good

india Updated: May 06, 2011 23:56 IST
Arjun Halappa

I am relieved! This was a very important match for us. Having lost the first match to Korea, playing Britain on Friday added to the pressure. And my boys delivered when it mattered.

I had mentioned on Friday that more than the skills and talent, my main concern was to make sure the team was mentally fresh ahead of this game. We had a small team meeting before the match and I was supposed to motivate the players. I personally feel that there can be no greater motivation for any player than representing his country.

I am not a great talker but I had only one thing to tell them: It's what you do on field that counts. It's the effort in those 70 minutes that counts; the rest is nothing. I am glad we could do everything that we had planned.

I wanted my boys to forget the defeat against Korea but remember the lessons; not one mistake was repeated. It was a complete team effort but credit is due to the back four who managed to ward off the attacks. Dhananjay Mahadik took a lot of pressure in the back and structured the game well.

During the team meeting, some of the players mentioned Arsenal and Barcelona and their style of play. Most of us are football fans and follow it closely. The point was that the two teams play beautifully, they have not lost the art of football to the brutalities of result, and they still remain among the top teams in the world. At the same time, they are technically perfect --- short passes, one-touch game, ball control, exquisite passing and creating gaps and exploiting them. That's all that is needed to succeed in modern hockey as well. And our game against Britain was an attempt to do the same. I am glad we succeeded.

The only time we faltered was when Britain tried to come back in the second half. I am glad we managed to get the full three points from this game.