India coach Stephen Constantine: Kyrgyzstan game to serve as preparation for 2019 AFC Asian Cup!

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The Englishman cut a confident figure ahead of India's final qualifier for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup....

Indian national team head coach Stephen Constantine is all set for a tough but exciting AFC Asian Cup qualifying clash against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday. 

Ahead of the game in Bishkek, the Englishman categorically dismissed suggestions that India might play for a draw, given that the team had already qualified for the showpiece event in UAE next year. 

"I always play to win, home or away. No coach thinks that his team is going to lose when they go into a game. Maybe the game might be a draw but we will play to win. I expect the same from our opponents as well," Constantine said. 

"We didn’t come here to lose.

"I think from a mathematical point, we’ve qualified and that was our objective when I took over the team. That objective is completed and my next task is to prepare this team for the Asian Cup. This game is part of that preparation," he added. 

India defeated Kyrgyzstan 1-0 when the two teams met in Bengaluru last June and the Englishman went on to say that he expects another tough game on Tuesday, though Kyrgyzstan have also secured qualification from the group after their 5-1 win over Myanmar last week. 

"I would like to congratulate the Kyrgyz coach for having qualified for the AFC Asian Cup. They are a good side and it was a tough game for us in India earlier. It will be a good exciting game this time.

"We will pay attention to all eleven of their players."

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu Indian National Team

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the Blue Tigers' first choice goalkeeper who will be handed the captain's arm-band in Sunil Chhetri's absence (suspension), credited the team's defence for their qualification from the group. He also maintained that India are not paying much attention to Kyrgyzstan's win over Myanmar. 

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"I think it is important to have a solid defence. For us, it has been crucial. We have tried to concede less amount of goals and put pressure on our opponents. We have been successful in doing that we are looking to do that tomorrow as well.

"I don’t think there is any added pressure on us because they won the match against Myanmar 5-1. We respect them as our opponents but we play to win. That is our motive.

"As our coach said, we are preparing for the Asian Cup. Our main concern is to build our team for the tournament and perform on our way to the tournament."

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