Thai coach Robson impressed with India

New Delhi: Thailand coach Bryan Robson was
impressed with Indian football team`s performance in their 0-1
loss in Bangkok and said his side will have a tough task at
hand in their second international friendly here on Wednesday.

Thailand had beaten India 1-0 in Bangkok of September 4
despite half of their side making up of Under-23 players but
Robson said India really played well in the second half of
that match after a goal down.

"They (India) played well in the second session and they
were very aggressive after we scored a goal (in 73rd minute).
What many teams do is they lose focus or just stray away after
a goal is conceded. But India did not do like that. They kept
on pressing for the equaliser," he said after his team`s
practice session at a city college ground here.

"It will not be easy for us on Wednesday especially when
we have come with a young side in preparations for the Asian
Games in China," said the former England and Manchester United

He picked Indian striker Sunil Chhetri, who joined the
team after being released by his Major League Soccer side
Kansas City Wizards, and goalkeeper Subrata Paul for praise.

"Your number 11 played well. He was quick, attacking a
lot, taking shots and heading. The goalkeeper was also good
and he made some fine saves," Robson said.

"I have asked for some video of the Indian team (from
AIFF) and I am going to see them tomorrow," he said.

Chhetri almost gave India the lead just before the
halftime in Bangkok but his shot came back to play after
hitting the crossbar.

Robson said he will continue to experiment with Under-23
players by fielding just five senior players from the first
team at Ambedkar Stadium on Wednesday.

He said he has left out 11 of the 17 players he had used
in Bangkok in the first international friendly.

"We are building a side for the Asian Games in China in
November. So what I have been doing is out of the first senior
side I am trying to use only five or six in each of the two
matches. I have used six in Bangkok and I have brought five
from the senior side for Wednesday`s match," Robson said.

"I have used 17 players in Bangkok and I have left 11 of
them in Thailand. The team here is very young and only five
players are above 23," he added.

Star striker Sarayoot Chaikumdee, who scored the winning
goal, has been left out as well as key midfielder Datsakorn
Thonglao and defender Panupong Wongsa who captained the side
in Bangkok.

But Robson has brought senior side captain and defender
Nattaporn Pharnit who did not play in Bangkok. Number one
goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan who also did not take field in
Bangkok is also here and he is likely to play on Wednesday.

"Pharnit and Thamsatchanan were rested for the Bangkok
match and they are here and expected to play on Wednesday. The
two forwards are very young and I am looking forward to their
performance in absence of Sarayoot," Robson said.

Asked about the fitness level of his players as compared
to Indians, he said, "I think our players are a bit quicker. I
am not saying that Indian players are not fit but overall my
players are quicker."

Asked about his knowledge of Indian football, Robson
said, "I don`t know much about Indian football. I know that
India has qualified for the Asian Cup and you have a good
coach (Bob Houghton) and I had a chat with him in Bangkok.
Hope football is catching up in India."



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