Sunil Chhetri scored a brace against Bangladesh, which saw him overtake Lionel Messi in the international goalscorers list. India won their first game in almost two years, and it was only the second win under the helm of Igor Stimac. Igor Stimac and the players will hope to build momentum from here and make a strong statement against Afghanistan.
Today, during a chat with Sunil Chhetri, conducted by the AIFF, Chhetri addressed the media and answered a few questions. Following is the fragment of the transcript on being asked about the comparison with Lionel Messi, adapting with a new playing style and his best striking partner.
Sunil Chhetri on the comparison with Lionel Messi
“There’s no comparison between Messi and me. There are thousands of players better than me. Those thousands of players are also his fans. But one thing I’m proud of is that I have played more than 100 games for India and scored 74 goals.”
Sunil Chhetri on adjusting with a new style of play
“The only issue is you need training. I’ve heard there’s a lot of backlashes that we don’t pass much. I want to see more passes because then we will create more chances. We have many players who are comfortable on the ball; for example, Brandon is really good. We have a lot of boys who are comfortable with the ball. It will take time.”
“Only thing I tell my boys is that give everything you got, and then you take whatever result comes. It doesn’t matter. You see Glan and Suresh, that’s the kind of energy you want to take. They did make mistakes with their passing, but their energy of coming back and fighting is all you need for a team like us. You might not get individual brilliance and through balls that much, but if we can fight like bees fight, everyone comes together; that’s the foundation. If everyone knows that they are going to face India and we are going to be annoying and we are going to defend as a team; that’s the first step, and slowly it will come,” Sunil added.
Sunil Chhetri on his best striking partner
“Bhaichung and Jeje have been the best Indian strikers I have played alongside. I will choose them as my striking partners. They made things simple for me. I have played alongside many many strikers, from Bhaichung to Manvir, but if you ask me to pick one, I will pick Bhaichung.”
India is set to lock horns with Afghanistan on the 15th of June. The game will be crucial for blue tigers as they aim to finish third in the group.
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