India’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of UAE in their second game of the AFC Asian Cup called for a positive response from ex-players and pundits alike. Lauding the efforts of the Blue Tigers, former Indian team midfielder Renedy Singh was not to be left out.
Renedy was happy with all the chances India managed to create and believed that the things would have been different if a few of the close chances actually went in.
“We did create a lot of chances. That is the positive aspect. If it (the ball) had gone in, it would have been a different match. We have done well with the ball but it is also important to see what did we do off the ball,” the midfielder said.
“During the first goal, it was a long ball from the centre line. The mistake is we allowed them to chip the ball easily and then there was a communication breakdown. The central midfielder should have been more compact. I think our midfielders allowed them to play passes in midfield. We have to close down faster,” Renedy said reflecting on what India could have done to prevent the goals and deny the opposition from creating chances.
The 39-year-old, who had a hand in the two goals India scored against Bahrain in the 2011 edition of the Asian Cup, also spoke about how India’s response to conceding a goal needs to improve. He mentioned that Stephen Constantine's team needs to continue creating more goal scoring opportunities even after they go a goal down.
"The good part is that we created chances but we are not good in chasing games. We were good till we hadn't conceded because they were coming up which created spaces at the back and we were good in exploiting them. But the problem is when we concede, the other team starts going back then the space gets killed. That's where you need creativity. But do we have that creativity? We have very few players like that.”
However, Renedy is optimistic about India’s chances against Bahrain. Although, he did warn that the Blue Tigers have a tough task at hand and must try to not concede first.
“India have a good chance against Bahrain. They need three points and they will come at us. Just like the previous match, there will be spaces at the back which we can take advantage of. But if they score first then it will be trouble for India," he exclaimed.
Renedy summarised his thoughts by stating that the chance of qualification into the knockouts is high for India. However, India must not waste the chances which come their way and allow the opponents to settle in midfield.
“India will recover well and be ready for the Bahrain game since we have good physical trainers and conditioning coach. We should take all the positives from the UAE match and go for the next match. We will get chances that is for sure. I don't blame them for missing those as they tried their best. But football is not only about going forward. It is also important what we do off the ball. We should not lose focus and not allow them to spray passes from midfield. That is something we should be careful about.”