Reid warns against complacency

Indian men's hockey coach Graham Reid (right) interacts with captain Manpreet Singh at the SAI, Southern Centre, in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/VIVEK MV

India might have drawn a favourable draw in Russia but head coach Graham Reid warned his players not to be complacent in the final round of Olympic Qualifier in Bhubaneswar on November 1 and 2. 

There was tension among the players as they watched the draw unfold on Monday. As soon as they were pitted against Russia, a team ranked 22 in the FIH world rankings, many players stood up in the excitement only to be calmed down by Reid. 

“We were all watching the draw together. Once we realised we are going to play Russia, we were really satisfied. But our coach immediately spoke to us and asked not to underestimate them.

“He stressed that just like we are aiming to qualify for the Olympics even they are fighting for the same,” Indian skipper Manpreet told reporters during an interaction at the Sports Authority of India, Southern Centre. 

In the opening game of the FIH Series Finals earlier this year, India had drubbed Russia 10-0 but the dominant win shouldn’t make the hosts overconfident, Reid asserted. 

“Being complacent is something I really hate. I don’t like complacency. So for me, if I see any of it in the next one and a half month, then that’s what I will be stamping on, we will be making sure it won’t happen. We need to treat our opponents with respect.

“So the when the draw was finalised, I told my boys ‘okay let’s get excited but don’t forget we also have a job to do, so let’s work as hard as we can’,” Reid said. 

Though Russia were outclassed by India in their previous meeting, Reid expects a tougher fight from them this time. “I know the result was 10-0 but you need to understand that heat played a factor. It was very hot in June and Russia found it hard to handle. But this time, the weather is cold in India and that’s what Russia prefer,” Reid pointed out.  

 The Aussie coach was happy with his side’s improvement in a couple of departments. “We are getting consistent with the short corners.

“We are creating more opportunities. Right now we need to look at the quality of those opportunities and work on quantifying them,” he explained.

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