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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Performance against Bangladesh not up to the mark - Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri said that the lack of a longer national camp would affect the camaraderie between the players more than their fitness.

football Updated: Oct 30, 2019 17:41 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sunil Chhetri reacts after missing a goal during FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier match against Bangladesh.
Sunil Chhetri reacts after missing a goal during FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier match against Bangladesh.(PTI)
         

The Indian football team will take on Afghanistan and Oman in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers between November 14 and November 19 but the chances of a national camp taking place ahead of the match looks slim because of their Indian Super League (ISL) commitments. Head coach Igor Stimac even expressed his worry over the Indian players missing the national camp. When asked about the camp, skipper Sunil Chhetri said that the lack of a longer national camp would affect the camaraderie between the players more than their fitness.

“I’m sure Stimac would have wanted more days, if we have got 6-7 days it would have been better because we are playing away from home. It would definitely have been easy but then the calendar has been decided beforehand and so I have nothing to say about that. Fitness won’t be a problem but the camaraderie between the players can be,” Chhetri said during an event organised by Herbalife Nutrition in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“Playing matches is always good for the team. It is true that there is a lot of travelling but four days should be enough for us to recuperate. We have done it in the ISL and I am sure we will be able to do it here,” he added.

Since Stimac took over as Indian football team coach, the team has not won a single game with their best performance coming against Asian champions Qatar where they played out a goalless draw. In their last encounter, they were held 1-1 by Bangladesh and their performance was criticised by experts and fans alike.

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Chhetri did not defend their show against Bangladesh and the skipper made it clear that the main reason behind their loss was the inability of the strikers, including him, to convert chances at crucial moments.

“The performance against Bangladesh was honestly not up to the mark. We missed a lot of chances. Personally, I think that I missed four chances and there were a couple that Udanta (Singh) and Manvir (Singh) failed to convert.”

“It really bothered us that we wasted two points in the match despite having almost 7-8 clear chances to score. But that is how the game is. If you don’t convert your chances, you will not be able to win games,” he added.

While the results have not been quite satisfactory, Chhetri continued to support Stimac’s philosophy. In the last few games, the Croatian coach has made a number of chances to the side and the skipper believes that it has helped in keeping the player on their toes as a big showing in practice can end up in them losing their spot.

“The best part about Stimac is that he gives anyone the chance to play if he does well in training. He comes to the training and picks the people who performed best. As a result, all of the players are on their toes and they know that if they do not perform according to their potential, they will end up losing their spot in the side,” he concluded.