Constantine heaps praise on India’s performance despite loss

India went down 2-1 to Jordan at the King Abdullah II international Stadium in Amman on Saturday. Considering the circumstances and the difficulties faced by the team prior to the game, this was a valiant performance from the Blue Tigers. Nishu Kumar, who made his debut for the national side, got on the scoresheet in the second half after Jordan had attained a two-goal lead.

Post the match, head coach of the Indian national team Stephen Constantine shared his thoughts on the performance of his players, who put in a commendable shift on the night. “I thought the boys were outstanding. I have just thanked every single one of them individually. All the boys absolutely gave everything. We could not have asked for more. Maybe we were a little unfortunate not to get the equalizer. But it was important that we played the game. We came here to play the game. I am delighted with the performance, but I am disappointed that we lost,“ he stated.

Speaking about his team selection, Constantine pointed out that he could not risk starting any of the seven forwards who had arrived late to Jordan. “Look, the seven players that came late were asked how they were feeling. They had a few hours to find themselves. I did not want to risk some of the other guys. Ashique Kuruniyan and Sumeet Passi are fairly young and recovery is quicker. Ashique did magnificently for 45 minutes. He gave everything.”

Under Constantine’s tenure with the team, 47 players have made their debut for the Indian national team. Bengaluru FC’s Nishu Kumar was the latest and the Englishman was delighted that the young defender managed to get on to the scoresheet. “I am extremely proud. I think all of the 47, whether they are here or not, gave something to Indian football in my time. I hope that they go on and have fantastic careers. It is just amazing to see young players get international debuts and go on and play for their clubs, Of course it gives India a bigger pool of players. I am delighted that Nishu Kumar managed to score on his debut.”

With about a month to go for the hugely-anticipated AFC Asian Cup 2019, Constantine stressed the importance of team fitness and their ability to adapt to different situations. “The boys that played today really gave themselves a good push in the right direction to be in the squad for the AFC Asian Cup. There is another month to go and I just hope that no one gets injured. I am pleased that no one was injured today. This was of course the biggest worry. We had a great performance considering we did not have a striker in the first half.”

Click here to read the match report.

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