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SportHockeyKeep your emotions in check: Coach Reid to Men's hockey team

Keep your emotions in check: Coach Reid to Men’s hockey team

Published: 2nd Aug 2021 8:52 pm

Tokyo: Chief coach Graham Reid has sent a strong message to the Indian team ahead of the crucial semi-final match against Belgium asking the players to keep their emotions in check for the match.

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Reid praised the fighting spirit of the Indian team in their win over Great Britain on Sunday, particularly when the team received two green cards and one yellow card. “This something they ought to avoid against a world class team like Belgium,’’ he said.

“I am very proud of the players. We fought hard and sometimes that is what you have to do in final situations of a crunch game like the quarterfinal. You have to fight, bite and scratch. We were very lucky yesterday because they (Great Britain) created more opportunities than us but our penalty corner defence and Sreejesh especially were magnificent last night. They saved us.”

Looking forward for the match on Tuesday, Reid said that there is a difference between passion and emotion. “Sometimes, we let our emotions take over. We need to keep 11 players on the pitch. The problem is that we played a lot of our game against Great Britain with 10 men on the pitch. We can’t do that against Belgium and think that we can be victorious. That will be the big message to the team today when we have a meeting,” he asserted.

Although the Indian forwards have scored goals in the last two matches, Reid believes there is still some work to be done in ensuring a sustained attack. “It was great to score field goals against Great Britain. We didn’t get any corners, so of course we also need to be working on a sustained attacking pressure which I always talk about with the players. As I said, against a team like Belgium, it will be very important to keep all 11 players on the pitch the entire duration,” added Reid.

On the cusp of creating history, India will be gunning for a victory on Tuesday and will be riding on their recent wins against Belgium. India have tasted success against them in the FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020 where they beat the World Champions 2-1 in their second game and had lost 2-3 in their first of the two double headers in Bhubaneswar. But skipper Manpreet Singh said the head-to-head stats make little difference in a tournament like the Olympic Games.

“As far as Belgium is concerned, obviously they and Australia have been sharing the World No.1 spot for the last 18-24 months. So, in that sense, Belgium will be a very difficult opponent. But we have played them a fair bit in the past and have the experience of doing well against them too. So, we need to focus on the things that we can do against them and make sure that we are much more disciplined in defence and our structure is much better,” stated the young Captain.

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