Kolkata: Expressing satisfaction with his team`s performance in the FIFA international friendly football series, Indian coach Savio Medeira tonight pointed out that his wards have won the friendly series against Malaysia despite not practising for long.
"I am happy with my team`s performance. We hardly got any time to practice together. Inspite of that the Indian team played well and managed to clinch the series," Medeira told reporters after the hosts beat Malaysia 3-2 in the concluding tie to clinch the two-match series between India and Malaysia.
Asked about his strategy to field as many as seven new players in the match, Medeira reminded that the players were tired after playing the I-League matches and the first match of the series at Guwahati some days back.
"That was the reason for inducting fresh faces in the match tonight. Moreover, this also gave me the opportunity to test the players before the SAFF Cup to be held in Delhi next month," Medeira said.
Medeira felt the motivating session with the players that took place a day before the match worked very well. He, however, admitted that the defence needs to be strengthened. Malaysian coach K Rajagopal said "though we have lost the match, I am not disappointed with the result. Our home season has already ended last month and my boys were not in match practice for some time."
"Many of my players are under 23 and 21 years, and I am sure they would be able to dish out better soccer in future," Rajagopal said.
The Malaysian coach also referred to the astro-turf factor at the stadium. "This was the first time our players played on astro-turf and they felt a little uneasy initially."
Referring to Indian team`s performance, he said "though India played better, our players also had chances to equalize the score but were not successful."
"However these friendly matches have given them good exposure and I an sure they will gain from it," he said.