Constantine: Two goals in five minutes killed us

The former Rwanda coach hopes that Dhanpal Ganesh recovers soon and that his injury doesn’t turn out to be a serious one…

Stephen Constantine explained that while there is a call for India to keep possession instead of thumping it forward, executing the same on field is a different proposition.

“It is one thing to say let’s keep the ball and other thing to do it. We worked hard and when we are playing in India I don’t want to sit back and defend, be it any team. We gave everything and the players played with great attitude,” said the coach after India’s 3-0 defeat to Iran on Tuesday.

Interestingly, Subrata Paul was dropped in favour of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who was only playing his second international game after a gap of four years.

“Gurpreet has been in the camp from day one. He looked sharp and strong in the training. I talked to our goalkeeping coach Ramos and we gave him the nod,” he explained his decision to drop the Mumbai City FC custodian.

The 52-year-old pointed that his side lost concentration after the break which saw them concede two goals in quick succession.

“Iran scored when they weren’t supposed to score Two goals in five minutes killed us. We cannot afford to make such mistakes. We lost focus and concentration. They could have scored more but we did well to recover,” he said.

“These boys haven’t played competitive game for a few months but still played well. Imagine if they did, and imagine if they had one league. Imagine if I got more time with them,” he added philosophically.

India didn’t have a single shot on target and Constantine affirmed that he knew that the outing against Iran would be a difficult game in particular, for his strikers.

“We need to remember who we are playing. So it was always going to be tough for attackers. It is not a game like Nepal. We had two-to-three attempts but that wasn’t enough,” he replied.

Robin Singh was deployed on the left wing and the coach explained his decision. He also showered praise on Rowllin Borges to put in a good shift in the middle of the park.

“Robin played on the wings because we wanted to stop Iran attacks. He did well. He has a great work rate and if he keeps working like this, then I am happy. There were a lot of positives from the game. Rowlin did well when he came in. Pritam Kotal, Arnab Mondal, Sunil (Chhetri) and Sandesh (Jhingan) had a good game. We just need more consistency. It will happen eventually,” he elucidated.

Chennaiyin FC’s Dhanpal Ganesh had to be substituted in the 15th minute as the midfielder suffered an injury.

“I hope the injury to Ganesh isn’t serious,” said Constantine.

– Shikharr Chandra


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