Need to handle pressure better in Oly qualifier: Chetri
New Delhi: Erstwhile hockey powerhouse India has the tendency to crumble in crunch situations and captain Bharat Chetri said his side will have to do away with the habit ahead of next month`s Olympic Qualifiers.
Of late, the Indian hockey team has often been guilty of gifting away matches to opponents from comfortable situations, the most recent being the final of the Champions Challenge I tournament in South Africa, which they lost 3-4 to Belgium despite leading the majority of the 70 minutes.
But Chetri felt if they can guard that area in the qualifiers, to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from February 18-26, India are certain to qualify for this year`s London Olympics.
"We are now more focussed under new coach (Michael Nobbs). We have got an easy draw (in the Olympic qualifiers) and I believe we should qualify.”
"We have vastly improved our fitness levels. We have also developed our skills and are scoring more goals now. But we need to handle pressure in a better manner," Chetri said during the second phase of the team`s preparatory camp here ahead of the qualifiers.
Eight-time champions India, who missed the cut for the 2008 Beijing Games, were handed an easy draw as they will fight it out with Canada, France, Poland, Italy and the United States of America in next month`s qualifiers.