Indian men’s hockey coach Graham Reid appreciated the way his players fought all the way against England in a thrilling 4-3 win, adding that the players showed a “good heart and good spirits” in the second match of the FIH Pro League double-header, at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday night.
Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh scored a hat-trick as India pulled off a win, with the defender taking his total international goals tally to more than 100.
India pulled off victories in both the games against England, winning the first one 3-3 (3-2) in the shootout on Saturday. With the wins in the double-header, India climbed to the top of the FIH Pro League 2021/22 table with 21 points in 10 games so far.
Reid, however, pointed out that India lacked the finishing flourish when they were in control of the situation.
“We seem to have a habit of not finishing those games when we have control of them. We let the other team get back into it. But I suppose that’s hockey nowadays. In the third quarter (of Sunday night), we lost control a bit and we need to look into that,” Reid opined.
“The corners went in and we had opportunities to try some variations. It was a really good fight with them and our boys showed a good heart and good spirits. Games like these help in building characters. And it’s always good to come out on top,” the coach added.
Reid’s boys will next play home games against Germany on April 14 and 15 at the same venue, and the coach warned that India will have to be on its guard against “a great hockey nation”.
“It’s good to win and reach top of the table, but now we have to prepare for Germany, who are also a very tough team. They will always bring a competitive team. They are a great hockey nation. So, we can look forward to some good games coming up in two weeks,” Reid said.
Speaking about his hat-trick, Harmanpreet said that he always wants to contribute for the team in any which way possible.
“My aim has always been to score goals for the benefit of the team. Even if I score one or two goals, or don’t score any, I always look to help the team in any which way I can. All my goals are memorable for me and are my favourite ones =- because I scored them for India,” said Harmanpreet.
“England are a very good team, they did not give up till the last minute. But we also performed well to keep our calm. It is also a learning lesson for us that we need to maintain our lead and the pressure in the match so that we can play freely in the final two quarters,” he added.
India skipper Amit Rohidas said that the win over England had given the players a great deal of confidence.
“We have gained a lot of confidence. Everybody in the team is making their contribution and we are showing a great team effort,” Rohidas said.
“I am enjoying leading the team as Captain, and it has been a great learning experience for me. But, more than that, everyone in the team wants to play for the benefit of the team, and that has been a really good thing to see in the past few games,” Rohidas added.