Houghton slams Sri Lanka for complaining about schedule

After his side's 1-3 loss to India in a round-robin match here, Sri Lanka assistant coach Sumit Walpole said that the islanders did not have enough time to rest as they had to play every alternate day in the five-nation tournament.
"We did not have enough rest and had to play every alternate day while India play each match after a rest of two days. So, our team did not have time to have enough training between matches to correct our mistakes," Walpole said after the match.
This remark got a stinging riposte from Houghton.
"It is interesting to hear Sri Lanka complaining about about the schedule. But when we played in Sri Lanka in the SAFF Cup last year we played five matches each game on every alternate day and that also at 3:30 pm start under 40 degree Celsius," Houghton said.
"Maldives or Sri Lanka did not play in the afternoon in that tournament. So it is better that Sri Lanka should not whine about the schedule in the Nehru Cup," added the Englishman.
Houghton lavished praise on his boys, saying they played a top class game.

"It was a top class game and we dominated the game totally. We created numerous chances and could have won by many more goals. But I am not worried as long as they create chances. There is a saying that if you want to score a goal you have to miss four times," Houghton said.
Asked about India's chances to make it to the final after today's win, Houghton said, "We are in a strong position but it all depends on tomorrow's match between Syria and Lebanon. If Lebanon win the equation can change."
Houghton was all praise for right winger Steven Dias, whom he described as the best player of the day.
"He was simply outstanding. Wasn't he? He set up our first goal scored by Bhutia and then scored one himself. He had a lot of running and gave several crosses from the right besides the set pieces," he said.
The Englishman did not agree that left wing was a weak link in the Indian team, saying that Anthony Pereira did a good job with a lot of running and some good crosses.
"Naturally, the attacks would be more frequent from the right as Dias and right back Surkumar Singh are natural right footers. Surkumar had also a good game. Anthony and left back Mahesh Gawli are not natural left footers so the supply from the left was not many."
Houghton was also not sure that the goal scored by Sunil Chhetri in the first half was an off-side.

"Chhetri scored a goal in the first half but was disallowed by the referee. I am not sure it was an off-side after seeing the replay on the big screen (at the Stadium). I am sorry that the goal was not allowed as it would have boosted his confidence," the coach said.
Asked about Gawli, Houghton praised the veteran Goan's display today at the left-back position despite the fact that he is not a natural left footer.
"Mahesh has a very good right foot. He is quick, possess a good header and has good interception. So he would have been the best right back in Asia. But all his life he has played as central defender. But for that position he lacks height and so I have advised him to play right back," he said.
"I made him to play as right back in the AFC Challenge Cup last year and against Hong Kong in an international friendly in January but is seem he does not enjoy that position. I think he is not convinced that he should play at the right back. I think he is not so young to change to right back," he added.
On captain Bhaichung Bhutia winning the man of the match award today, Houghton said, "Ask the players they will always say Bhutia is the man of the match every time. He is such a good player and leader."

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