Happy to win and keep a clean sheet, but we can do better: India captain Sunil Chhetri
Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri was happy to start the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on a winning note but has urged his team to to do better in the attacking third after The Blue Tigers eased past Cambodia in the opening match at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Chhetri was the difference maker once again as he scored a brace in the 2-0 victory.
India were dominant for almost the entire game and didn’t give the opponents a sniff of getting on the scoresheet. The 37-year-old was disappointed his team could’t add to the tally on the night.
Chhetri spoke to the broadcaster Star Sports and the AIFF Media team after the match.
Here are the excerpts from the interviews:
A good win to start the Asian Cup qualifiers. What are you thoughts on result?
We are happy with the clean sheet. There are a lot of things that we could have done better. I am not trying to be harsh. The weather was very humid and of course it was the same for both teams. The tempo of the game could not be maintained for longer time. It was really humid. I'm not trying to give an excuse but at the end of the day to keep a clean sheet and get the three points was very important and which we did. I'm sure the coach will have a lot of things to say when he watches the videos. Overall, to start on a good note and keep a clean sheet feels good.
You dominated large parts of the game especially in that first half. Could ypu have scored more goals?
We should have got more goals. In international football you don't get the opportunity where you can get in your players and get into places where you can cross and do some damage. I think we coulnd't utilise that as much as we should have. But again I'm probably being just old and throwing tantrums, At the end of the day, I'm very happy that we got the three points.
Does this win ease the nerves for the rest of the matches?
Yes, a little bit. It’s always good to start. It’s important especially when you have just one match per team. The margin for error is very small. You have to take your three points if you can. When you work really hard to keep clean sheets, it always pays dividends.
Afghanistan are up next. What is the biggest positive that you would take from this game going into that one on Saturday?
The biggest positive was the clean sheet. A lot of boys got the feel of what it means to play ninety minutes. A lot of boys hadn't played after the ISL. A lot of players were in different physical conditions. So it was good for the coach to see. Some of the boys got a run, some of them played ninety minutes which was good. Also the coach has already told us that with three matches in 6-7 days, he will need everyone of us. So yes, that's the positive. We haven't yet seen the videos of us and how we have performed and also the Afghanstan vs Hong Kong game. We will sit and watch that and come up with a plan.