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Bansal wants to focus on coming matches

Ipoh, Malaysia, May 10 (UNI) After losing the first two encounters of the ongoing 17th Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, India coach Ajay Kumar Bansal wants to forget the past and focus on the coming matches.

''Tomorrow is another day and we don't hang on to past results.

I watched the Canada-Belgium match here. I am confident a victory is within our reach,'' Bansal told mediapersons after the training session of the Indian team here today.

Stating that the team conceded soft goals which contributed to the defeat, the coach said the midfield and defence will have to pull up their socks.

''Yesterday, we lost not because we did not play well, but because we conceded two easy goals in the second half,'' Bansal said. ''My focus now is midfield and defence. Soft goals are dangerous and spoil the team's morale. This was exactly what happened against Argentina.'' Saying that the forwards are inexperienced, Bansal said he was not unduly worried over their poor scoring form. He, however, admitted he would like seasoned players like Tushar Khandekar in the squad.

''I don't look at the outcome of a match solely on the basis of scoreline. Forwards are doing reasonably well,'' he remarked.

''I have not instructed my forwards not to strike. They are inexperienced and I would have loved to have a player like Tushar Khandekar.'' Bansal admitted that dragflicker Sandeep Singh appeared to have some specific problems against Argentina.

''He has some problems against Argentina. In the Champions Challenge Cup in Boom also, he could not strike against Argentina despite getting more penalty corners than what we got yesterday.

He must learn to tackle dashing goalkeepers,'' he said.

India, who had lost to New Zealand 3-4 and Argentina 1-5 in the first two matches, will take on minnows Canada in a do-or-die clash tomorrow.


Story first published: Saturday, May 10, 2008, 17:34 [IST]
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