My players are flexible, says Papas
Muscat: Head coach Arthur Papas feels that India Under-22 football side has a good bench strength that allows him the liberty to experiment and utilise all the players.
The team is currently competing in the AFC Under-22 Championships and has a good chance of qualifying for the final phase, provided it wins the do-or-die encounter against Oman on Tuesday.
"Also when you play 5 games in 11 days you need to utilise your whole squad. We have depth in the bench at the moment and the players are quite comfortable to change in situations because in the training preparation we consistently worked on all players understanding the whole system. It`s flexible," Papas said.
According to the Australian, Oman are a very capable side and his boys will have their task cut out.
"We will have to ensure we are able to find a structure which allow us to win the second ball consistently and again we need to keep focusing on our positional understanding whenever we have the ball," he said.
Coming into the tournament as underdogs, Papas is impressed with way his players have performed.
"In every game, we have started as the lowest ranked nation and wear the tag of `underdogs` to those outside. Internally though, we have developed an amazing team spirit, inner self-belief and have consistently grown in confidence day by day whilst playing a very positive brand of football," he said.
Much of the credit for the transformation of the boys in the AFC U-22 Championship goes to Papas but he stayed modest.
"Overall, I feel it`s the players who deserve the credit for what has transpired in this tournament. They are the ones who go out and execute what has been taught and they have been very courageous in their personalities and this is reflected in their football style. The players deserve all the praise."
Papas also felt that Oman has "enjoyed a logistical joyride" in the tournament so far as all their matches were scheduled for 8pm start.
"They have been the only team in the Championship to have played all their matches at 8pm instead of 5pm when the heat is so much more punishing. They have also played all matches at one certain Stadium (Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex) unlike other teams who have had to rotate for matches and training venues."