India men’s national team head coach, Igor Stimac revealed that he is “happy” the strength his side showed during their 2-0 win over Cambodia in their 2023 Asian Cup qualifier opening game on Wednesday, 8 June.
India skipper and talisman, Sunil Chhetri was once again the star for the Blue Tigers on the pitch, scoring a brace to give his side an easy 2-0 win – though Stimac claimed that “fair result would be minimum 4-0” scoreline at the post-match press conference.
“We had at least four or five more good clear chances. So two more goals would serve really well. One-third of the job done, which is very important. I asked them two things today, clean sheet and goals. I would be happier if there were three or four, but two is goals also. So I’m very happy at the moment and confident about what’s coming up,” he said.
The Croatian also wants more from the other attackers in the side in terms of goals as they cannot depend Chhetri every game and that they need to get accustomed to play without their talisman, considering that he is coming to the end of his illustrious career.
“I expect goals from (Udanta, Manvir, Ashique, Sahal.) They all need to start scoring. You might wonder why I took Sunil and Brandon out, who were two of the most important boys today. One reason this is not only about one game, there are three games. Sunil also had a yellow card, result was comfortable, I didn’t see any danger out of Cambodia for us. And that’s why we tried as we need to start learning to play without Sunil as simple as that. They need to learn to play without him. And this was a good chance to give them a chance to play without him at least half an hour,” the 54-year-old added.
India currently top Group D on goal difference and will next be seen in action when they face Afghanistan on Saturday, June 11 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
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