Guwahati, Sep 3: The national team has adapted well to the new style of playing football introduced by the current coach Igor Stimac which builds up from the back and goes on attack mode in a smooth transition.
The players, who underwent a training camp in Goa last month, ahead of India’s first FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier against Oman on Thursday, say they are "loving” the new system.
“Everyone has seen how the coach wants us to play. It's not easy to implement a new style. We have to be brave and I can say that from our games against Curacao (King's Cup) to Syria (Intercontinental Cup), we have improved a lot,” said center-back Sandesh Jhingan.
Talking about the transition to the new playing style, Jhingan said that the players had been working on it both on and off the pitch.
"Training has been about building patterns on the pitch and making them a natural part of our games. As a centre-back, I have to play out from the back and every player is adapting to his new role as well.
"Off the field, we are studying as well and we keep getting videos and clippings from the staff, that help us learn better," he said.
One of the key players midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad, who has appeared in each of India's five international games the team had played so far, said that he had developed a "great understanding" with his fellow midfielders.
"Training has been intense – we are always pushing each other that extra yard. Off the field, we are like brothers. We have developed a great understanding in midfield and know each other's movements – when to make what run and when to stay back. Knowing that I have the support behind me also gives me the confidence to push forward as well," said Samad.
Anirudh Thapa, who scored the lone goal in India's win over Thailand in the King's Cup in June, said that he liked what the coach expected from the players.
''He wants us to keep the ball and keep possession. I like it and it suits me well. Adapting to it is a challenge but we are gelling well together in midfield. We are working on improving our understanding and game-reading,'' Thapa said.
Udanta Singh, who has 22 senior appearances to his name, also said that the team hoped to put its best foot forward on the field.
''We all are working hard on the ground and the gym. We are all raring to go and hoping to do our best on the field. With the previous matches we have played, we got to learn our strengths and weaknesses and now we are working on them accordingly,'' he said.
''All the boys want to play with the ball and the coach wants to build up from the back. But it is not easy so we keep trying. Mistakes will happen but the coach is there to help us out. I like whatever works for everyone,'' Singh concluded. (UNI)