Need more consistency, says elated de Matos

Need more consistency, says elated de Matos

Luis Norton de Matos rarely enjoys a period of calm during India’s matches. The 69-year-old can be seen bellowing rapid instructions from the sidelines, stomping his foot and flinging his hands at missed chances, or sometimes letting out a cry of anguish. He would also be the first to pat the boys when they troop to the dugout.

On Monday, de Matos finally had his arms up in the air -- in joy -- when Jeakson Singh headed India’s first FIFA World Cup goal.

Off the pitch, Matos had to clear his throat several times as he sedately answered volleys of questions. He was a proud man but felt they could have pulled off a win against Colombia.

“I will sleep well with the sentiment that the players played a fantastic game. I am very proud as the Indian team showed they can play in this competition. It was a dream six months ago to think that we can give this against a top South American team. I’m happy and tired,” Matos said.

“I’m also frustrated because there was a possibility to win. I felt that we could do that today. At least we should have had a draw. The players had the capacity to suffer and the organisation was always there. The USA coach said it was difficult to play against us. Even the Colombian coach said the same. It’s a proven idea now. We need more consistency in our last pass and in the transition to offensive.”

Matos said he wanted India to score first, and pointed out it was their lapse of concentration which saw Juan Penaloza score his second goal on the counter.

“The problem was that we scored towards the end of the game. The happiness of the players after scoring saw them lose concentration. We don’t have this experience. The very next minute was like a dream for them,” he said.

“It’s a pity that against the USA, we struck the post and they scored which was a big punishment for us. A 2-1 (result) would have been fine. We lost because the will to win can have some contradiction. They were a bit lost for some minutes. It’s not their fault but they need more competition. This team has a fantastic future.”

Colombia coach Orlando Restrepo admitted the Indians put them under pressure in the last 15 minutes. “I want to congratulate the Indian coach and the players for their will to win. We needed to be more patient to take the opportunities we had. The last 15 minutes were stressful especially when India scored.

“I had to make a lot of tactical adjustments as we were struggling at the beginning.  The two centre-backs (Anwar Ali and Namit Deshpande), did an unbelievable job. They kept the Indian team organised and had a successful game.

DH News Service

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