Asian Cup 2019: Stephen Constantine - India are as prepared as they can be for UAE

Despite coming up against a strong team, Constantine believes that India can get a positive result and take a massive stride towards the knockouts...

Going into their second AFC Asian Cup match against UAE, India head coach Stephen Constantine feels that the Blue Tigers are have left nothing to chance with their preparation for the crucial Group A clash.

Interacting with reporters ahead of Thursday's match, Constantine stated that India are not focusing on specific players from the opposition ranks.

"We take them all into account. UAE will be a tough game, we have prepared for all 14 of them, including the three subs. We are as prepared as we can for this game."

UAE were held to a draw in their opening match by Bahrain and the British coach is wary of a reaction from the All Whites, cautioning his players to expect a backlash.

"They didnt play to the best of their capabilities (against Bahrain). They are a good side. I think they are going to be jacked up to play us. They will see this as an absolute must-win situation. We are expecting a very tough game. We will try to play our game and see if we can get something from it."

India are currently top of the group and a win over UAE, though the odds are stacked against them, could propel the Blue Tigers into the knockout stages. And the British coach is focused on the job ahead of them.

India National Team

"I hope we're leading the group after three games. At the moment, it is nice to be there (top) but we have two very difficult games in front of us. Obviously playing the host nation tomorrow (Thursday) will be a tough game.  We came here to try and qualify from the group and we will give our everything to do that."

"Nine points would definitely do it, six would also definitely do it. I think four might also be enough but we are going for three points tomorrow so we'll see what happens.

"We are not going for a draw, we are not going to lose. We came here to win, we came to the UAE to make India proud - this was our objective from day one. In 2015 when I came in, I told everybody we would qualify and we've done that.

"I've said that we will try to get out of the group and have taken the first step but still two very tough games to go, but we are on the right track," stated the Englishman bullishly.

The coach also shared his disappointment at conceding a goal from a set-piece against Thailand but did assert that the team were working hard at maximising set-piece opportunies at both ends of the field.

"We work on attacking and defensive set plays a lot. For me, personally, it was disappointing that we conceded from a set-piece. But things happen, the guy did very well to lose his marker. We didn’t track the marker and they scored. But fortunately, we won. So, it did not cost us anything but a clean-sheet, which I would have liked.

"We did work on that but sometimes it happens. The delivery was superb and the run by the Thai player was also good. They deserve the credit for that goal but we helped them with our mistake.”