Women's team can still improve: Hockey coach
India beat Canada comprehensively 4-1 in their second Olympic qualifier on Sunday.
New Delhi: Indian women's hockey coach CR Kumar feels "there is still room for improvement," even though his team beat Canada comprehensively 4-1 in their second Olympic qualifier here on Sunday.
"It was a good performance from the girls. 4-1 is a good score-line for the team. I was particularly happy with the professionalism of the girls."
"We played more passes and there was good penetration in their attacking third. But I believe there is still room for improvement," Kumar said at the post-match media interaction.
The coach said there were a few areas in the defence where his team has to work hard.
"There are a few areas where we have to work hard. Our defenders are unnecessary forcing the ball and are losing possession. Some of the links were also unable to trap the ball properly," he said.
After their disappointing 1-1 draw against Ukraine on Saturday, the Indian girls looked more assertive in the striking zone against Canada.
"The plan was to take a shy at the goal whenever our girls enter the striking zone. Also we changed our plan for short corner conversion. Since they tried to block the goal mouth, we changed the tactic of taking a direct shot from the penalty corner and that paid dividends," Kumar reasoned.
Skipper Asunta Lakra, on her part, said that "cutting down on mistakes was important and they did just that."
"We had a meeting today where we had discussed about not repeating our mistakes. There was a lot of self-belief and we motivated each other. Now the aim will be to maintain the momentum throughout the tournament," Lakra said.
"We don't line in the past. The girls were determined not to commit mistakes and we did exactly that."
Both Kumar and Lakra assured that Anuradha Devi's injury is "nothing serious."
Young Rani Rampaul, who scored one of the four goals, said, "We have to maintain this conversion rate in the remaining matches. We played much better than yesterday but we can still improve. Tomorrow is a rest day and we will also get a chance to watch the videos of the two matches and analyse the mistakes we have made."
Kumar, meanwhile, said Sunday's performance will boost the confidence of the girls as they gear up to face Poland, South Africa and Italy in their remaining three pool matches.
"I think against Canada our passing has been the best when you compare it with other teams. This performance will surely boost their confidence as we prepare for our remaining three pool matches," he said.
Kumar said India have to play aggressively if they want to make the final.
"We have to play aggressively. We cannot be slow starters and be nervous. A team commits mistakes when it is nervous. We have no room for errors," he said.
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