Belgium: The Indian men's hockey team might have come up with a brilliant performance in the first match of the ongoing FIH World League Semi-Final 2015, but defender Birendra Lakra feels the side needs to work harder on their defence.
India beat France 3-2 in their opening match on Saturday, but the Asian Games champions' defence was given a harrowing time by the fast overlapping French strikers, who capitalised on counters to stun them twice.
"It's a good start for our team, winning the first match, but we need to work on our defence structure and it has to be improved," said Lakra.
"We kept the ball possession in our side and dominated the match in the last three quarters but we conceded two goals, which is unfortunate for our team. As the tournament gets tougher with each match we will have to fill up gaps in our defence chain and strengthen the defence structure," he insisted.
Lakra said that his team will have to take their game a notch higher as far as the defence is concerned.
"Our new strategy is working in our favour, now we have to take it a notch higher in terms of defence," said Lakra.
Meanwhile, the Indian women's team vice-captain Deepika also said that the girls will have to raise their level in the upcoming games.
The Indian eves failed to capitalise on several openings and suffered a 0-1 loss to hosts Belgium in their opening match on Saturday.
"The first match was a closely-fought clash and we came close to scoring goals on a few occasions. We have learnt a few things from the match and we will use the experience in coming matches. In the upcoming games, we will have to raise our level and be in better shape to face the challenges.
"We need to work on our ball possession as we failed to keep the ball in our side in the last match. We are satisfied with our performance and we will come back strongly in the next match," she said.
The India men's team will face Poland in their second match on June 23, while the women's team will take on New Zealand on the same day.