'First target is to ensure we don't concede'

'First target is to ensure we don't concede'

'First target is to ensure we don't concede'

Nothing can be more demoralising for a team than a streak of defeats that refuses to go away. To keep the motivation level high in such a scenario is a hard task, something that the Indian football team is attempting to do in the World Cup qualifiers.

“Yes, it is very disappointing. Something that is very hard to come out of. But that’s how the game is. You win, you’re motivated, and when you lose the team’s morale takes a hit,” said Indian defender Arnab Mondal.

“But all said and done, I don’t have to do much (to motivate the side). The very realisation that we play for the national side is enough motivation. There could be nothing better for a footballer than playing for his national team. Give your best and let the result take care of itself, that has been my message,” he stated.

Yet to register a single point in their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, the Indian side is virtually out of the race to qualify for the further rounds. But Mondal said the side will look to put its best foot forward and get a positive result out of their coming games.

“We are positive about our chances from the coming games. Especially the one on Thursday (against Guam). We know that they are a good side and that they can hurt us if we do not bring our ‘A’ game,” he added.

Conceding early goals — as it happened against Oman and Turkmenistan — has been a big drawback for the Stephen Constantine-coached side. Modal stressed it was a concern the team would want to address at the earliest. “It (conceding early goals) is really disappointing. So the first target will be to contain the opposition’s attack and not concede. Then we can build on our game and find ways to get behind their defence.”

Stressing that lack of practice time had hit India’s chances in their away games against Oman and Turkmenistan, Mondal blamed a packed calendar for the woes.

“I don’t want to get into this controversy. I think the calendar itself is so tight at that we don’t have much breathing space,” pointed out  the Atletico de Kolkata defender.
Throwing light on the national side’s preparedness to tackle Guam, the centre-back said a total team effort will be needed to stop the visitors.

“They have been together for the past 2-3 years, and they play as a unit. There is no one player who leads the side. Everyone does their job and that gets them the results.
“If we can put in our best, we can get a better result than what we have achieved so far.

We have a good striking force in Jeje (Lalpekhlua), Robin (Singh) and (Sunil) Chhetri. A team effort will be needed on Thursday,” he stressed.

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