The All Whites’ tactician talked briefly about the win agaist India in the Intercontinental Cup.
New Zealand came from behind to beat India 1-2 in a game that saw India make seven changes to their starting XI. Sunil Chhetri continued his goalscoring exploits for the Blue Tigers. However, Moses Dyer stole the show with his 86th-minute strike to win New Zealand three points.
New Zealand coach Fritz Schmid and their star performer Sarpreet Singh met the press after the game and talked about it in a frank conversation.
“It is, of course, a very fantastic feeling and I can say that the boys must be very proud of their performance,” Schmid said after the win.
“Obviously, we knew playing the hosts coming out of two games, scoring eight while conceding no goals and having all these qualities – both individually and collectively, would be difficult. We also knew that we might have to struggle because we just came after one day of recovery,” Schmid added.
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“We spoke at halftime that if we finally try to convert our scoring opportunities, we might get the game out of the hosts’ hands. But unfortunately, we started on the wrong note and continued to give away balls which was not very impressing,” Schmid asserted.
“But coming back after such a blow and then scoring and keep playing good balls is also a sign of the strong character of this young team,” he revealed.
New Zealand struggled to score against Chinese Taipei, but scored twice in the second half against table-toppers India. Talking about the difference between the two games, Schmid pointed to India’s attacking mindset.
“I think the situation against Chinese Taipei was completely different. They came out with a very different mindset to that of India, a defensive setup. Obviously, it is very difficult to score against opponents who play defensively,” he informed.
The coach also took a dig at the New Zealand media who he claimed were very unsupportive to this young side. “I think it’s a need for everyone to know that we have been classified as the youngest football team in the history of New Zealand. But now, I think the boys have made a statement, actually that they deserve to be here,” he said.
India-origin-starlet Sarpreet Singh played in front of a big crowd against the hosts. So, it was a special occasion for him. “They kept telling me to enjoy the occasion, to enjoy the moment. It’s not very often that you get to play in front of a big crowd here in India,” said the Hero of the Match.
“I kept focusing on my job and everything that I had to do to help my team and I am just happy that we got the three points,” Singh added.
Sarpreet has been one of the most consistent performers for the All Whites, but he still thinks that there are lot of things to work on. “I am happy with what I have done but for me, there is always room for improvement. I also think that my teammates have helped me a lot,” the midfielder said.
The All Whites head coach Schmid reiterated that this was the best New Zealand could offer to the tournament. “We have taken the best team we had available and we have achieved two wins. Everybody is invited to participate and make sure that they contribute,” he concluded.