U17 World Cup: Luis Norton de Matos - "Indian players are very able and want to learn"

Luis Norton de Matos India U17
Anselm Noronha/Goal
Coach Luis Norton de Matos speaks about his experiences with the Indian team in the past seven months.....

India coach Luis Norton was asked about the positive and negative aspects he has come across since taking charge of the team in March after Nicolai Adam and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) parted ways in acrimonious circumstances.

The Portuguese was pleased as to how quickly the team took his methods. He also highlighted the need to defend as a unit.

“When there is a change in coach, there is a different philosophy. My main concern was to put my ideas and the players following it. To my good surprise was the way the players were focused. In about two months, the process was correct in their mind. We played some good games in Europe.

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The intensity of the Indian players, they are very able and want to learn. This is a positive. This is an important thing. Earlier they used to play more direct and I try to play more with the ball. We try to start with two lines and reduce the space for teams like USA, Ghana and Colombia. The process started with building the defence. It’s very important. Defence is not all about defending. The offensive process is more difficult and takes more time. But if you have a good defence, then there is a possibility of a good result.”

On his team’s Achilles heel, Norton pointed the problem which every team in the world suffers from, i.e., the conversion rate of their strikers.

“There are possibilities to score but the problem is that a European player with more experience would need three chances while we need seven. We cannot correct this now as the process starts in grassroots. You cannot learn this very fast. If we have more time to work, certain things can happen easier. Intensity is very good, quality in defence is also very good. Now we will prove if what we learned in the last seven months is enough to win or draw but we will fight.”