India on Friday held world champions and title holders Australia to a 1-1 draw in their opening match of the Hockey World League Final and chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said he was happy but not “satisfied” with the team’s overall performance.
“You always want to win but I am always looking for alternatives. I am happy with the overall performance. You have no shots at your goal from field play against number two in the world and I think that’s really good,” Marijne said at the post match press conference
“In the second half, our defence was in control. In the first quarter, of course, we would have liked to score more. We are working on that. We are also working on our penalty corner conversions. This match gives us a good feel for the next match. But we are not satisfied because we wanted to win,” he added.
Missed chances was the order of the day for the Indians on Friday and Marijne said some mistakes were bound to happen in the beginning of a tournament which will die down as the event progresses.
“In the beginning of any tournament the first match is always difficult. But I was really happy because we created chances in the beginning of the match. We had two big opportunities. We played well in the first quarter and we need to continue like that. I am also happy with our performance in the fourth quarter,” he said.
Asked whether the team has improved from their triumphant Asia Cup campaign, the coach replied in the affirmative.
“Absolutely, I saw more discipline in the team. Still there were few moments we gave the ball too easily. I think we have improved. The defending was better,” Marijne said.
“As a team we did really well. We have to improve a few things like we gave away a few easy penalty corners. But I was happy with the organisation.”
India captain Manpreet Singh, who had a brilliant outing in his 200th international cap on Friday, said missed chances were bound to happen in a game of hockey.
“Hockey is a team game and mistakes are part and parcel of it. We can’t blame anyone that we missed so many goal scoring chances. Missing chances is normal in hockey,” said Manpreet, who set up India’s goal on Friday.
“We did not do well in penalty corners today but we will work on it in the coming matches.”
Australia captain Mark Knowles said Australia did not play to their potential on Friday.
“Our quality was not good enough and if you continue for good part of the match you can pay for it. But we knew one goal in professional hockey is nothing, you can come back,” he said.
“Our standards and quality were not quite good enough. It’s first match and so some sharpening needed. As the game went on we gained more control.”