Antwerp: Indian men's hockey team's chief coach Paul van Ass feels from the word go the Sardar Singh-led side needs to put pressure on the opponents in order to secure positive results in the FIH World League Semi-finals to be held here from June 20 to July 5. The Dutchman stressed on the need to score early goals to put pressure on their rivals.
Indian skipper Sardar Singh during a training session recently. Inset: Paul van Ass
"The practice matches were a huge learning for the team. While we won the match against France, we narrowly lost to Belgium. But what came out for me from the matches was that we have to increase the pressure on the opponents from the start," Van Ass said. "We need to work on getting more penalty corners apart from looking at the capitalising on opportunities inside the opposition circle.
"While the boys did a good job in the practice matches in breaking the opposition defence, they need to ensure they yield results. Getting the initial goal in our name will help us build the pressure," he added. He was also pleased with the way Indian defence, it's perennial problem, fared in the practice matches.
"The defence looked strong in both the matches. While we conceded two goals against Belgium, the positive that I take from the game was that the boys have now started to close the gaps," Van Ass said.
India eves lose to Japan
Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team lost to Japan 0-2 in their first practice match ahead of the Hockey World League semifinal here yesterday. Hockey World League will run from June 20 to July 5.