Former India hockey captain and veteran defender Dilip Tirkey, a member of the national team's support staff, was happy with the defence in the first two matches but said there won't be room for errors when they next face France and Canada in the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers.
India, who are the highest ranked team in the tournament at World No.10, have dominated the first two matches scoring 23 goals and let in just two. They followed their 15-1 win over Singapore with a 8-1 thrashing of Italy in New Delhi on Sunday night at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Tirkey, a government observer in Hockey India (HI) selection committee, told IANS Monday he was happy with the man marking but there was still room for improvement.
Tirkey was roped in by Australian coach Michael Nobbs before the qualifiers to tighten the defence, that has been letting in last-minute goals. Tirkey's mantra to the defenders has been "don't commit yourself in a tackle in the first attempt".
"The defenders have responded well and they have done in one on one situations. But we still have a long way to go. The defence was hardly tested in the first two matches and India's real test will be in their next two matches against France (World No.18) and Canada (World No.14)," he said.
Asked why India conceded two silly goals, Tirkey said: "I think there was a casual approach for a minute and two that is when we let in goals. This is an area where we have been working upon and I am hopeful that we can sort it out."
Tirkey said the defence will improve as the tournament progresses.
"In the next two matches, I hope we will get tough competition. It will help us to know where our defence stands," he said.