Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Graham Reid Wants India To Tighten Defence After Qualification

Updated: 03 November 2019 20:59 IST

India were made to work in the next two quarters before the visitors buckled and conceded four goals in the final quarter.

Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Graham Reid Wants India To Tighten Defence After Qualification
India hockey coach said that the team needs to stop giving away too many chances to the opposition. © Hockey India

Indian men's hockey team coach Graham Reid said that the upcoming FIH Pro League is a great opportunity to decide upon the ideal squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by giving chances to as many players as possible. India sealed their berth for the Tokyo Games on Saturday after hammering Russia 11-3 in a two-legged qualifier. Reid indicated that the team remained an unfinished product and finishing and defending were two areas which the players needed to improve upon.

"I was just telling the players that we have got nine months to get as good as we can. The results will look after themselves after that if we focus on the process," Reid told reporters after the second leg of the qualifier.

"We need to get better at finishing. We are creating a lot of opportunities and now its time we get a little bit more returns. Penalty corners are always our thing so I won't go into that. We have to get tighter in defence and stop giving away too many chances to the opposition," he added.

India were outright favourites to win the qualifier as they were facing Russia, a team ranked 17 places below World No. 5 India.

It was, however, hard work for the hosts with the first leg ending 4-2 in their favour. Russia scored in the first 25 seconds of the second leg and won the first quarter of the match. India were made to work in the next two quarters before the visitors buckled and conceded four goals in the final quarter.

"We aren't Robinson Crusoe. We aren't the only ones who've had that (problem). If you look at the Australian women and the Dutch men, they also had a little bit of a hiccup on the first day. This tournament is a first for everybody and it's a very pressurised situation you are in as a team.

"I think credit goes to everyone involved that we are able to come through. I had said before, Russia are very good tacklers and a good team overall. So to think that we will come out and play well in both games would be downgrading the opposition a bit," he said.

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Topics mentioned in this article India Hockey
Highlights
  • India defeated Russia 11-3 on aggregate to qualify for the Olympics
  • Indian coach said that the team needs to tighten their defence
  • Russia are very good tacklers and a good team overall, Graham Reid said
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