Wim Koevermans: I am happy with the result against Philippines

The Indian head coach was impressed with his team's performance in the 1-1 draw against the Azkals...

Wim Koevermans was impressed with his side’s performance in the 1-1 draw against Philippines where Sunil Chhetri’s strike was cancelled out by Philip Younghusband.

The Dutch coach was delighted with the first half display and mentioned that Chhetri’s goal from the flag-kick was something the team had been practicing upon in the last few days.

"I think it was about two halves. The first half I think it was a good game. The two teams that wanted to play attacking football, which we did. Philippines are a good side but we played good football and we had some good chances. Sunil had a great chance with the header that just went wide. I was impressed with the way we played in the first half although there were some freaky moments when the ball bounced between the players," he said.

"We scored a great goal from the corner kick. We had been practicing that in the training and it was a good goal. But unfortunately we conceded quickly and that is something we have to work on,” he added.

However the team couldn’t keep the ball in the second half and Koevermans acknowledged the same.

"In the second half we defended pretty well but what went wrong was that we gave the ball away too many times which allowed them to build momentum and keep possession in our half.   Karanjit (Singh) had some great saves and the defenders played very well. However in the midfield we gave the ball away many times which is something we have to work on" he opined.

India had a chance at the death to register a win but Jeje Lalepkhlua’s header went wide after being set up by Clifford Miranda.

"In the end Jeje had a great chance to win the game for us but unfortunately that did not happen. I am happy with the result. Philippines are a good, strong side and we have to continue playing against such sides to improve our play. We now look forward to Nepal and are hoping we can better this result when we face them" he added.

In the past, India have lost 3-0 to Tajikistan and 4-2 to Palestine and Koevermans reasoned that his team need to remove the errors from their performances in order to get a positive result against top sides.

"Palestine are a good side and we played a good game against them but conceded quickly. Tajikistan were also a very good team but that was during the start of the season. We are improving slowly and are playing good football. But in each of those games we have made one bad error and we need to work on those mistakes."

"We can play good football as we showed in the SAFF Cup semi-final and final but a few errors are costing us the game. We need to continue playing against such big teams to improve our game and I think today's game was a good result for us in the end."

Despite the poor showing in the second half by the midfielders, Koevermans was confident his players will learn from their mistakes.

"The midfield is an important part of the game and Lenny (Rodrigues) and Mehtab (Hossain) are key players for our side. In the first half they played some very good football but in the second half they gave the ball away many times and they know about it too. They know they were wrong and we will work on improving this."

Aibor Khongjee gave a decent account of himself on his debut and Koevermans praised his performance.

"He was very good. It was his first game, he played as the left center back which is a very important position and I was really pleased with his performance," he said.

Striker Robin Singh was substituted in the 75th minute and Koevermans explained the reasoning behind the move.

"Robin was taken off because of his hamstring. He felt something there and we felt it was the right decision to take him off because we can't take risks with the players’ fitness because after this he has to return to his club (Bengaluru FC)," he concluded.

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