In hindsight of India's 2-0 defeat to Singapore at that Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Wim Koevermans felt that his team gave away the ball far too easily at times, after dominating the opening quarter of an hour. He felt that this helped Singapore to put their tactics to good use.
The Blue Tigers were dominant in the early stages of the game, playing most of the time in the opposition half. "I think we started off very well," he said, "We had a lot of possesion in their half and had a lot of chances. But after that strangely enough we started losing the ball which brought them (Singapore) back into the game."
"All of a sudden they started playing more in our half. We struggled to keep the ball," he admitted, "And also we gave away the goal, which is not something we wanted, of course."
India went on to concede the second goal just four minutes into the second half which Koevermans pointed was a mistake by his players.
"In the second half they got the goal, which I think was a mistake from ourselves," he remarked, "I started the half with the same team hoping for an improvement."
The 52 year-old went on to praise his players' response after the setback and in particular, highlighted the contributions of his substitutes. "I was happy with their reaction. They worked really hard," he said, "After the substitutions, the game changed in our favour, although we didn't have too many chances."
"The players who came on put up a very good performance. They were a threat in their half and they gave us the advantage in the game again," he said of his substitutions, "For a coach, it is important that when you make a change, it should affect the game, and that is what happened." He also confirmed that captain Sunil Chhetri had sustained an injury and hence had to be taken off around the hour mark.
Regarding any aspects of the game that had needed his attention, he felt that ball retention was the key in order to stop the Singaporeans.
"We have to keep working on the game, keep possession," he reflected, "If we play well we can create chances. But we give the ball away which helps the opposition (come) back into the game easily."
But he affirmed that this was all part of the learning process. "This a part of the development," he remarked, "This is a part of the change in the game. We have shown in previous matches that we are capable, even under pressure. This is the next step for the team that's why we wanted to play on FIFA dates."
He also went on to praise the hosts, who inspite of missing key players, performed well. "We can play much better than we did in certain parts of the game but I must credit Singapore," he felt, "They saw that we had problems building up possession, so they pressed us high up. That's something our players need to see
and we have to make the right choices."
"So overall a very interesting game for me as a coach and for the team," he added.
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