India needs to play consistently against France, S Africa in 2nd leg of FIH Pro League: Manpreet Singh
New Delhi, February 12, 2022
India skipper Manpreet Singh has exuded confidence about winning the next two matches against France and South Africa in the FIH Hockey Pro League over the weekend at Potchefstroom.
“We will need to play consistently in all four quarters and the team will focus on doing that in the upcoming two matches against France and South Africa. It will obviously be good if we can end the tour with winning points," he said.
In the opening match, India beat France 5-0 where Harmanpreet Singh (21'), Varun Kumar (24'), Shamsher Singh (28'), Mandeep Singh (32') and Akashdeep Singh (41'), who was playing his 200th international match, scored goals.
"It was good to start off the campaign with a win. Our first quarter was patchy but after the first quarter we played a rather composed game. We played to our structure and converted from the chances we created," stated Manpreet.
"It's important we don't take them lightly when we play against them on Saturday. We saw what France is capable of when they played against the Netherlands. The match went into a shootout after a 2-2 draw and eventually they lost in the shootout. Even when we played against them, they created good chances to score," he said .
In India's second match where they won 10-2, new comer Jugraj Singh (4', 6', 23') scored a hat-trick of goals and Harmanpreet Singh (2'), Abhishek (12'), Gursahibjit Singh (24', 36'), Dilpreet Singh (25', 58'), Mandeep Singh (27') also scored.
Though it was a big-margin victory for India, Manpreet felt that there were several aspects the team could have done better particularly in the second half. "Definitely the highlight of this match was both new comers in the team Jugraj and Abhishek scoring goals and also creating opportunities.
"But when we watched the videos from this match, we definitely felt that, as a team, we could have done better in the second half. There were lapses in the defence, which allowed South Africa to come back into the game and we didn't carry on the same tempo with which we started the match," Manpreet opined.
India is currently placed third in the pool standings behind the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively, who have played four matches.