New Delhi: Indian football coach Savio Medeira on Friday said that his team is now employing both long ball and possession game, a mix of the playing styles of his two predecessors.
In his five-year stint as coach from June 2006 to April this year, Englishman Bob Houghton had mainly relied on long-ball tactics but his successor Armando Colaco in his four months at the helm had emphasised more on possession football.
Medeira, who was the assistant coach of the Indian team for most part of Houghton`s stint, reasoned that top European clubs employ a mix of ball possession and long ball tactics and he would prefer that style of play.
"Top clubs like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid use both possession football and long ball. Many say FC Barcelona play only passing football but you can see they also use long balls. So we are trying to use both," Medeira said after the team`s training session at the Ambedkar Stadium ahead of India`s opening match against Afghanistan in the SAFF Championships on Saturday.
Winger Steven Dias said the players did not face difficulty in adjusting to the new style of Medeira.
"Bob used the long ball while under Armando we played possession football. Now we are mixing both styles. Since we have used both styles earlier we don`t face difficulty in the new style," Dias said.
India were thrashed 0-5 by Zambia in a friendly match on November 29 but Medeira was not unduly worried by the result.
"We lost to a quality African side and we did not have much preparation as a team. No team in the SAFF Championships would be as strong as them. We need to put that match to rest and focus on future. And I have full faith in my bunch of boys," he said.
Medeira ruled out tinkering in the back-four even after five goals were leaked against Zambia.
"I don`t think there would be changes in the defence. They have been doing well and they faced a much superior African side," said Medeira.
Strikers Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua joined the team today just a day ahead of the SAFF Championships campaign opener against Afghanistan but Medeira was not complaining.
"Ideally, you wouldn`t want your two key players to join the team just a day before a tournament. But there was no other way out. I have to accept this. May be in future, things like this (trial) should be planned in such a way that it does not clash with preparations of a tournament," he said.