India's shot-stopper, Subrata Paul speaks ahead of the game against Maldives on the tournament and the new system under Wim Koevermans..India's 2-1 victory over Syria in the opening game of the Nehru Cup, marked the beginning of the Wim Koevermans era and also the return of goalkeeper, Subrata Paul after almost a year away from the national team. The 25-year old shot-stopper spoke his mind ahead of India's second game of the tournament against the Maldives.
India's playing style during their win over Syria was slightly dampened by a sudden downpour which brought the first half to a brief halt. The water-logged pitch disrupted the passing of both teams but India still managed to bag two goals courtesy of the experienced duo of Sunil Chhetri and Anthony Pereira before conceding a late goal in injury time.
"We started off well. The first 25 minutes were superb and we stitched a number of passes in the midfield. The commitment level was exceptional. However, with the rain interruption the underfoot conditions changed but we were good enough to adapt fast", said Subrata on reflection of his side's performance in the first game.
Speaking on the games ahead, India's number one said, "The victory against Syria is a thing of the past. When we take the field, the fact that we won against Syria won’t guarantee us a win against Maldives."
What will intrigue Indian fans is Paul's insistence that the Blue Tigers did not play to their best against Syria and that they haven't yet performed to their potential.
"There’s still a long way to go in the tournament. The brand of football on display against Syria isn’t our best and we are yet to play to our potential."
The appointment of Wim Koevermans as national coach, brought with it a promise to revolutionize India's style of playing football. However, it is far to soon to expect a massive change in India's approach to every game and that's something that Paul was quick to point out.
"Settling into any new system takes time. You need to give us that space. The way things are taking shape, I’m sure in the next one year we will improve by leaps and bounds as a cohesive unit. The philosophy of Indian football is changing for sure."
India will face south Asian rivals, Maldives on Saturday in New Delhi for their second fixture of the Nehru Cup tournament.
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