India U17 head coach Luis Norton de Matos cut a satisfied figure after his charges romped to a 3-0 win over Mauritius U17 team in a freindly held at Goa on Thursday morning.
It was the team's final preparation game before next month's FIFA U17 World Cup where India are set to play USA, Ghana and Colombia in Group A. As expected, the Portuguese coach used the opportunity to try out all his players, putting out two different teams in each half and expressed his satisfaction at the scoreline.
"This match was very important for us as it was the last international before the World Cup. I wanted to play all the players and hence I put two sets of teams. It’s not that the team which played in the first half who would against USA (in India's World Cup opener).
"All the teams, if you look, we had the same philosophy which was interpreted by different players. The way we play must be the same. It wasn’t easy as we like to build the game at the corridors and it is difficult to have stability there," he elaborated.
The 63-year-old also lauded his players for keeping their fitness and concentration throughout the game. "Of course, there are two periods for the other team. They started well, were organised and had a good physical condition. But with more minutes, they lost their concentration because their condition wasn’t so good as us," he assessed.
Though the second half substitutes, especially Boris Singh, impressed, de Matos refused to single out individual names. "I never talk about individual names as it is always about the team. It is the team which is more important.
"However, in every game there are players who play better and some who don’t. However, today those whose didn’t play well perhaps can play well tomorrow. What is important is how we perform as a collective unit."
Boris Singh, who scored the opener, will not be able to play in the opening game of the World Cup due to a suspension he picked up but de Matos sounded unperturbed by the fact. "When I came, I knew he cannot play the first game. I’m happy that he can be in the group," he revealed.
"For me the most important thing from this win is to finish the game without any injuries. This was my main concern. The field was difficult, the body can have a lot of shock from physical contact. It was good physical work for us."
The coach also felt that the team is primed to attain an optimal physical condition which will help them tackle the rigorous demands of the World Cup. He explained, "We have 15 days for the World Cup and 15 days is enough to have a good condition. If you ask me about the match experience, then no but about the physical condition, yes.
"The players are here with us for some months and you cannot change nothing now. You must keep the confidence, the players must go on and I’m sure they are going to give 100 per cent.
"If it is enough, the future will tell," he signed off.