FIH Pro Hockey League: India work on nuances ahead of NZ tie
IMAGE: Graham Reid, Hockey India’s Chief Coach, and Captain Harmanpreet Singh. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter
Indian men’s hockey coach Graham Reid wants his team to cut down defensive lapses and at the same time attack more when they face New Zealand in the second leg of the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
India began their campaign in the new season with a 4-3 win against New Zealand on October 28 before losing to Spain 2-3.
The Indian team faces Spain again on Sunday.
Reid said after watching the tapes of the two earlier matches, the team management has devised plans to improve its game this weekend.
“We are looking to press more. We conceded too many opportunities. Although I was pleased with our defensive structure in the match against Spain, we let ourselves down in vital areas, making two or three mistakes that cost us dearly,” Reid said ahead of the match against New Zealand.
He expects the players to maintain intensity throughout a match and not just in patches.
“I think in terms of fitness we are good. We have done some agility work this week and the entire team has been on top of the fitness scale.
“But it’s more of a mental thing to be switched on throughout the match and not show dominance in patches. That’s where our focus will be this weekend,” Reid said.
Captain Harmanpreet Singh said the team has worked on its weak points during practice sessions.
“We went through some scenarios that needed improvement on the basis of our performance in the previous matches,” he said.
“Our tackling ability outside the D can be much better and not give any room for the opponents to create space. I think these small things have to be kept in mind to ensure we come out of the next two games with winning points.”
The New Zealand team, on the other hand, is hoping to record its first win of the season after two consecutive losses.
“Playing India in India is a fixture no one wants to miss. It’s a great atmosphere here and we feel like the first two games had some positives although we didn’t win,” New Zealand head coach Greg Nicol said.
The players are in a good place mentally and physically after the first two matches and are looking forward to this weekend.”
Elaborating on adapting to a new style of play, Nicol said, “We want to play an exciting brand of hockey. We want to play more attacking hockey, while we are making those changes, we are going to make mistakes and that’s where we were punished last week.
“Going forward we want to continue to play attacking style but try and reduce the number of errors we make. For this weekend, we will bring in different tactics for different teams (India and Spain) and focus on getting the result we need.”
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