The entire team is not only embracing but “loving” head coach Igor Stimac’s new mantra, according to veteran defender Sandesh Jhingan. The Indian football team are getting ready for their opening World Cup qualifiers game against Oman on Thursday.
Stimac took charge of the team back in May. And Jhingan believes that he wants the Indian team to play a brand of football that builds up from the back, going into the attack mode in a smooth transition.
. @stimac_igor ?️ We introduced a new playing style for the #BlueTigers better suited to the bright ? generation of Indian football which is at hand.#INDOMA ⚔ #WCQ ?? #BackTheBlue ? #BlueTigers ? #IndianFootball ⚽
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 4, 2019
“Everyone has seen how the coach wants us to play. It’s not easy to implement a new possession-based 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,” the experienced centre-back said.
“We have the right kind of players and everyone in the team has loved the new approach,” he added.
The team earlier underwent a training camp held in Goa from August 20 for the preparation for the important Oman game.
While speaking upon the shift in the playing style, Jhingan informed that the players have been working hard, both on it both on and off the pitch, to get acquainted with the new techniques.
“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. We keep getting videos and clippings from the staff, that help us learn better,” he reflected upon.
“Coach wants possession-play”: Samad
Midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad, who has been one of the key players for Stimac, said that he is developing a “great understanding” with his fellow midfielders. The player has appeared in all five international games under the Croatian.
“We have developed a great understanding in the 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,” Sahal said.
Anirudh Thapa added, “The coach 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.