India Colts succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to their American counterparts as the USA U-16 side turned on the heat in the first half, scoring three, before rounding the scoring off in the second half, in their All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Youth Cup tie in Goa on Thursday.
Speaking to the media assembled for the post-match press conference, India’s head coach Nicolai Adam gave his analysis of the game, saying that he wasn’t upset with his side’s result, but instead happy with the performance.
“Honestly I am actually happy about the performance and the attitude the boys showed. We did a good job till the first goal happened. In general, I know that we are on the right track. The players we selected have the speed. I also know that it’s an educational curve also for the men. Now, people realize what kind of speed you need in a World Cup on the wings. I think we did a good job in the second half but the result hurts of course. A 2-0 result would do more justice to the quality we put out. Our goal is to get the fifth match and for that playing well against Korea after rest is realistic. No bad words against the boys today they did a good job,” he reflected.
When asked whether the scoreline showed a gulf between the two sides, Adam said that while that was an issue, it wouldn’t have been there had they had better competition in their exhibition matches played in India.
“If there is one thing I regret is that we prepared in Goa. If there is one thing I would change, I would have prepared them abroad, time change between Germany and India is just three and a half hours. That is the reason why we only could manage a draw versus Malaysia. Things would have looked better if we had won versus them. The exhibition matches we played in, the oppositions were not up to the mark.
“Of course it shows the gulf of class between USA and India. The US is a sports nation. I do not have one left footer in my team. I was watching Korea Republic the other day and they have five left-footers and five right footers. I can’t find even a single left footer in India. I still feel we are on the right track and the selection is not over,” he asserted.
Adam acknowledged the imminent threat of finishing bottom and expressed that he would like to avoid that with a good result in their next game against South Korea.
“Yes, of course. First of all we need to make points versus Korea and see how Malaysia does. It is not all in our hands but let’s see what happens. Nobody can say that the boys aren’t giving their best. They give their best. I see the positive things today. I am not trying to talk out of this but 2-0 would be a better result for the quality we showed,” stressed the Blue Tigers’ head coach.
Aniket Jadhav was a surprise omission from the eleven and when asked to justify that, he went on about the talent of Aman Chettri, who was returning from injury.
“You have seen Aman Chhetri play today who is one of the biggest talents in the country. He was injured and this was the first time he came back and that is beautiful. I even heard people scream bring Aniket on,” he recalled.
Adam refused to label the match against Korea a must-win, saying that their standing also depended on other results. But what he stressed on again was that the side played very well, with the scoreline not doing justice to it.
“Korea is not a must win game, it depends on other results. We have to play football like we did in the first 30 minutes and even after that we didn’t play do badly. It doesn’t look like their morale is down. There were a couple of mistakes but the last time they met these kind of players and I want to mention my point again, if we had prepared abroad, we would have done better. The result was not good but we didn’t play badly,” he repeated.
Youth players should be inculcated in all generic styles of play to create well-rounded players, and that is what Nicolai also stressed on.
“See, with all respect to Tanzania who deserved to win over us but I am not preparing this team to not play the long-ball. I am preparing them as good as possible for the World Cup and what comes after. Playing the long ball in that age group is not the right thing. This is a learning period for them and everything else is necessary,” concluded Adam.