High on confidence after an impressive 4-1 win against Scotland, Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Roelant Oltmans wants the side to “bring in more aggression” when they face a determined Canada and unpredictable Pakistan in two Pool B clashes of the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final on Saturday and Sunday respectively….reports Asian Lite News
India skipper Manpreet Singh also cautioned his side against any complacency in the upcoming games against Canada and Pakistan.
Commenting on the kind of pressure ahead of a high-octane India-Pakistan match, Manpreet said the team will come up with a good show.
“We always look at Pakistan as just another team and we always look at earning those three points from the match to advance in the league stage. They are a good side, but we have had a good start to the tournament.”
“The idea will be to stick to the plans which the coach draws up before the matches against both (Canada and Pakistan) teams. He has asked us to bring in more aggression into our game and aim at finishing on top of the table in the league stage,” Manpreet added.
India have a fair record against Canada, having won their league stage matches in the 2015 and 2016 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a score of 5-3 and 3-1 respectively. India also drew a crucial match against them at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But Manpreet said India cannot afford to take the opposition lightly as any team can bounce back in a match.
“Though the team is ranked below us, we don’t want to take them lightly. They can come up with a good game and hence it is important for us to stick to the roles assigned by our coach and execute them as planned,” he said.
Against Pakistan, India have enjoyed success in the recent past. In 2016, India beat Pakistan 3-2 in both the league and final matches at the men’s Asian Champions Trophy.
India also won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match against Pakistan by a convincing 5-1 margin. This will be the first encounter between the neighbours this year.
Manpreet emphasised that the team has no added pressure as they have already qualified for the HWL Final to be played in Bhubaneswar in December.
“We play with no pressure. We just want to perform to our potential and enjoy ourselves while we give it our best,” he said.
Pakistan lost 0-4 to The Netherlands in their opening match on Thursday and will play Canada later on Friday. India will take on Canada in their second Pool B match on Saturday before facing Pakistan on Sunday.