New Delhi:Indian football team's month-long Barcelona tour yielded the desired result and will do a world of good to its Nehru Cup title defence, captain Bhaichung Bhutia said on Tuesday.
Talking to PTI from Barcelona, Bhutia said the side has achieved what they had set out for from their training stints at the FC Barcelona facilities.
"It is always good to have a pre-season tour. The facilities are great here in FC Barcelona and so it has been a very good tour. The boys are making the most of the facilities and we are in fine shape and ready for the Nehru Cup," Bhutia said.
He said the best part of the training tour has been the improvement in the fitness level of the boys, especially the youngsters, which will give them the confidence in the August 18-30 Nehru Cup.
"The fitness level of the boys has improved a lot and (coach Bob) Houghton has allowed all of them to play (in the first two practice games against Spanish third division sides).
So they are in the mix, which is great," he said. Bhutia would not compare the trip to the team's 2007 tour of Portugal ahead of the Nehru Cup which India won but said they have achieved what they had set out for from the tour.
"I don't want to compare the two tours. Portugal was very good and Barcelona is the same. The important thing is we had achieved what we had set out for from the Dubai and Barcelona tours. We got the match practice and chance to try out combinations," Bhutia said.
Asked which of the opponents in the Nehru Cup would be the team to watch out for, Bhutia said, "In any international tournament every team would be tough to play against so we can't take any team lightly."
On the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code featuring the vexed "whereabout" clause, Bhutia said he has not encountered anything like that.
"I and other players have been subjected to testing before every international tournaments under AFC and that is not new. But I have not encountered this 'whereabouts' clause," he said.
FIFA had at first objected to the clause which required the furnishing of information by chosen players of there location three months in advance for out-of-competition testing before signing it on the condition of recommending only those players whom it considers "of high risk", such as those who have earlier flunked dope tests or have recovered from injuries.
India had played three friendly games against Spanish third division sides, winning one and drawing two. They play their final friendly on Wednesday before flying home on August 7.