The Indian national football team endured yet another hard hitting defeat in the Intercontinental Cup after they went down 2-5 against DPR Korea.
Coach Igor Stimac was unhappy with how the team started the game but proud of how they turned it around in the second half.
"We came out with our heads up in the second half and with confidence when we decided to play football, instead of the first 45 minutes when we played without any courage or self-confidence.
"I could not understand this because I told my players that they need to go out there and enjoy football as they represent their country. There were a lot of individual errors in the first half, we were not showing enough courage and not covering each other.
"The second half was a completely opposite story and I’m proud of that. Because when you go 3-0 down, it is very difficult to get up. You know that we had many problems with our defenders and are missing 6-7 very important players here in this squad. It was difficult to work like that but now everything is very clear to me – who we can count on and who we can’t. Every player has been given the chance and no one can say that I haven’t seen him," he explained.
The changes made during the half-time seemed to have worked as India created more chances and scored two goals. Stimac agreed that he's slowly arriving at an idea as to who can play and who can't, but refused to give out names.
"I don’t want to name any players, it’s not my way of dealing with things. I will keep that in the dressing room but you can’t hide the truth. The evidence is there. When I added new players on the pitch, we started playing, started taking responsibility and started creating chances. We were dangerous in front of goal.
"We use these games as friendly games so we can find out everything about all candidates and choose the team for the qualifiers. I can’t look at the score now. I need to look at the score for India in the future and not now," he said.
The Croat also gave an update on the injuries that have prevented him from fielding the best line-up.
"Five-six of the eleven players were injured in the preparation period. I brought Anas (Edathodika) with me and he is training with us. I feel sorry for Sandesh (Jhingan) because he felt he is 100 per cent fit. We might lose him for 4-5 weeks again. This was not a good decision and I take full responsibility for this.
"We missed Ashique (Kuruniyan) a lot because we need speed on both sides. I hope he comes back before the qualifiers. There are other players too – Jeje is important as he gives us options," he explained.
Stimac also addressed the qualification scenerio and admitted that his focus is to get past Syria without any injuries.
"When you are talking about final, it’s not realistic. DPR Korea must lose against Tajikistan. There is a mathematical possibility but I just want to finish the match with no injuries," he concluded.