New Delhi: National football team coach Bob
Houghton was gracious in defeat after his side went down to
Thailand 1-2 in their second international football friendly
match here on Wednesday.
"They deserved to win. They played better in the first
match but it was pretty equal tonight. The performance of our
boys was commendable, they kept working hard but I am
disappointed that we did not take our chances," Houghton told
the post-match press conference.
"We attacked more tonight, our counter attacks were also
better and we looked more dangerous but they capitalised on
the chances. The boys were very good in the air and Climax
(Lawrence) especially, was much better compared to Saturday`s
match," he added.
Bhaichung Bhutia, suffering from a recurring thyroid
problem, was brought on in the 70th minute and Houghton said
that was pre planned and had nothing to do with the fact that
India were trailing at that point.
"We always knew that Bhaichung would play at least 20 to
25 minutes," Houghton said.
Seemingly pleased with Bhutia`s performance, Houghton
said, "He keeps the ball in the opponent`s penalty area and
gives a different dimension and it rubs on to the other boys."
Meanwhile, Houghton`s counterpart Brian Robson felt both
the sides created chances but Thailand were better when it
came to converting them.
The former England and Manchester United legend was quite
pleased with the performance of his young players.
"I am delighted with our young players. He (Dechmitr
Wichaya) is only 19 and he has got great stamina and ability
with the ball. Mentally if he keeps his ground, he will be
much better in future," Robson said.
On India`s game, Robson said, "They caused a lot of
problems defensively but our attack did well.
"India attacked a little more tonight, probably to please
their fans, but that left more space for us to go for counter
"India looked good at playing little passes in the
midfield and that caused us a lot of problems. They will be
able to trouble a lot of good opponents this way," Robson
Despite heavy rains lashing the Ambedkar Stadium
turf prior to the match, the pitch, according to Robson, was
"It was quite firm, the players could pass the ball and
it zipped off the ground," the Englishman said.