India coach Nobbs hoping for a better show against England
Ipoh (Malaysia): India coach Michael Nobbs said his team will take inspiration from the victory over South Korea to put up an improved show in Sunday’s Azlan Shah Cup match against fancied Great Britain, who were held to a draw by a late Malaysian resurgence.
"Even though we got the winning goal in the last minute of play, it was a character performance and we deserved the victory," said Nobbs, relieved that the tide had turned after the disastrous opening outing against New Zealand.
Five-time champions India suffered a crushing 1-5 loss to New Zealand, but were revived by the 2-1 win over South Korea, Asia`s highest-ranked team.
Nobbs expressed disappointment that errors continue to creep into the Indian game, often when they are under pressure.
"We all need a victory to keep going and it was a satisfactory performance, but a few errors still crept in after a fine show in the first half of the match," he said.
He also asserted that India were back on track in the tournament after S.K. Uthappa`s final minute deflection on a Tushar Khandekar pass that helped them clinch a victory in a tight encounter.
"Uttapa scored an unbelievable deflection goal. It was nice to see the boys not giving up right up to the last second," he said.
Nobbs said there were aspects the team was still working on, but the discipline in our game`s structure against South Korea showed an improvement on the previous outing.
"It takes time to learn a style of play that we`ve only just started to use," Nobbs said as India braced for the encounter with Great Britain.
"It is very frustrating to see the errors creeping into the Indian game. That we need to sort out. Looking back at our match against New Zealand here, everything that was talked about and practiced was forgotten and the players were back to the old style of play."
Britain, world No. 4, are the highest-ranked side and in this tournament and eager to reclaim the title 18 years after their triumph here in 1994.
Having come here with the intent of clinching a morale-boosting title win and fine-tuning their squad ahead of the Olympic Games at home, Great Britain are feeling the stress of the hot and humid conditions.
"The game against Malaysia was five minutes too long for us and the heat turned out to be a factor," said Jason Lee, coach of the British team.
Playing their first game of the tournament, Great Britain squandered a two-goal advantage by conceding field goals to young striker Faisal Saari in the last three minutes of play as Malaysia emerged with a 3-3 draw.
Nobbs said Malaysia showed how the British team could be put under pressure.
"The young legs of the Malaysian team in the second half really put them under pressure and they scored twice in the last few minutes to force a draw. If we can get a point or more off Great Britain tomorrow then it will opens up the way for us to get to the final," he said.
India, one of the biggest attractions of the Azlan Shah Cup, where their five title wins are just one behind Australia`s record tally of six, finished a disappointing sixth in the seven-nation tournament in 2011 after being champions in the previous two years.
New Zealand are at the top of the standings with a tally of six points from two matches, followed by Pakistan, who have three points from their only outing.
India are on three points after two games, while Malaysia have two points from two drawn matches. A draw in their only outing gives Great Britian one point and South Korea have one point from two matches. Argentina have lost both their matches.