Blue Tigers have recently concluded their 649-day-long World Cup Qualifier campaign, and they are unfortunately not boarding Qatar. Instead, the road leads them to the 3rd round of the AFC Asian Cup, China 2023. It was some rollercoaster ride for Igor Stimac’s men as they could taste the victory only once.
India might be standing third in the group table, but draws against low ranked Bangladesh and Afghanistan might haunt the Croatian. The national team manager addressed a press conference where he quoted his prospects, plans and opinions.
“In ISL, you had 5 foreigners who were there to do the main things on the pitch. As a manager of NT, I’m not working with the players on a daily basis.” The gaffer seemed to be well aware of all the critisism that awaits.
Igor Stimac on his proposed long-term project for Indian football and strategies about the 3rd round
“As I said before, in front of our goal we are doing a very good job. In middle zone, we are doing good job. But in the final third, we are struggling. Because the quality of opposition is high.”
“We were excited about Goa in the ACL. We were proud. But when it comes to stats, when it came to facing teams with higher quality, the possession was in 30s and only 6 shots against those teams. And they had 4 foreigners. I don’t have any.We need to have more trust in our process. We need to be like a family and support each other. I have nothing to hide, I will say what are the problems and how to solve them.”
Coach Stimac on the players that have impressed him
“I am here to mention Seriton Fernandes who had a great season but couldn’t join us. Ashish and Ashutosh had injuries. It’s affecting the team. Another problem we faced is that when you look at the situation, it was terrible. We had only players from 2 teams having some minutes. I am speaking about Goa and Bengaluru. That’s why these players are in the team. Same with ATK mohun Bagan.”
Igor Stimac on which ISL teams he is looking up to while building up the squad
“ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru are counter attacking sides. We do all this and find a proper balance is really difficult.”
It’s high time for the Croatian tactician’s job, we all understand. We will see whether Igor Stimac has to offer something more, or AIFF will look up to a new face at the touchline in due course of time.
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