Aim is to finish in top six bracket: Hockey coach

Bangalore: Taking on the world`s premier hockey teams at the London Olympics would be a tough job but India has taken some "huge steps" to at least finish among the top six bracket, head coach Michael Nobbs said on Thursday.

"We are still away from where we want to be, but we have taken some huge steps to at least finish in top six bracket in London Olympics," Nobbs said when asked about India`s chances in the upcoming sports extravaganza.

"Facing world`s top six teams at the London Olympics would be a tough job as Team India had no opportunity to play them recently.

"Realistically, we are looking to try finishing in top six bracket ... Let us see what happens," he said on the sidelines of a felicitation programme here.

Nobbs said vital inputs given by Australian physio David John have made tremendous difference in terms of strength and fitness levels of the players.

Skipper Bharat Chhetri said the players were aiming for a semifinal berth.

"Our aim is to reach the semifinals of London Olympics which we haven`t been able to do for a long period of time."

Asked about India`s chances, Chhetri said: "I can`t say we will win Olympic gold medal. Nevertheless, we are playing attacking game like the Australians. It will take time to change (the fortunes of the team)."

Chhetri said John has been working on players fitness and he has never seen such training in his entire hockey career.

Expressing happiness over Hockey India`s support to the players, Chhetri said it has brought many sponsors due to which the boys were getting good boarding and accommodation facilities. "We are getting more than expected," he said.

Praising Nobbs, Chhetri said he does not put unwanted pressure on the players and lets them play in their own inimitable style.

"This does not bring pressure on players and helps them play their heart out," he said.