Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac is confident of his side’s determination and hunger to win their upcoming game, as they face Hong Kong in the final group stage clash in round three of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Stimac believes his team’s display of grit in their previous game against Afghanistan will set a precedent and hold them well in the future.
The 54-year-old also added that the Blue Tigers need to be far-sighted of the threat posed by Hong Kong, labelling the side as a quality one, crediting the side for topping the group as things stand.
“We need to complement Hong Kong for what they’ve shown in their first two games and deservedly they’re leading the group at the moment because they have a better goal difference. They are a well organised, disciplined side with enough quality to defend as well as attack, but we’ve studied their strengths and weaknesses, and we know what we need to do to win this game,” he said.
“Of course, this game is equally important as the previous two games, there is less pressure obviously but not less hunger and motivation for us to go out, start from the very first minute as we did against Afghanistan and do everything to win this game,” coach said.
Asked about Liston Colaco’s role in the team, Stimac said, “As far as I’m concerned, Liston can play in any position in this front four, in terms of a 4-2-3-1 formation. He can be the one behind the striker, he can play centre-forward, and can play on the left-wing or right-wing. But Liston is that kind of a player who enjoys freedom in his game, he loves finding the channels and spaces where he can receive the ball and immediately turn and attack.”
“At this stage, it’s important for him to release the ball earlier and keep running into spaces without the ball rather than getting past 3-4 players with the ball. He is different, he is the one we expect to shine more and more in the future. His defensive commitment for us in the last couple of games is something we’re proud of. You could see how much he was sprinting back after losing the ball and then going to attack once again,” he said.
(Inputs from IANS)