The head coach spoke to the media after his team’s loss in the second friendly against India.

After a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first friendly, the Indian football team bounced back in style to land the result in their favour in the second clash against Nepal. Goals from Farukh Chaudhary and Sunil Chhetri in the second half were enough for India to secure a 2-1 win. Despite Tej Tamang’s stunning late strike from outside the box, Nepal left it too late to convert their chances. The Gorkhalis’ head coach Abdullah Almutairi spoke to the media following the game:

About Nepal’s performance

Almutairi hailed Nepal’s combined effort and expressed his happiness. “We played very well and controlled the game,” he said. “Despite that, we conceded two goals. It’s normal in football to have an off day. Yes, we did not finish our chances. But, as a team, we played well and I feel very proud about that.” 

Regarding teams’ approach

Abdullah Almutairi explained the side’s approach going into the match and commented that the objectives were met by the players. “I think everyone knows about the hashtag that was trending about the Indian coach before the match,” the 39-year-old began by referring the backlash on social media against his counterpart.

“That’s why they wanted to go all out from the first minute. Our tactics was simple, to stop their forwards and maintain our shape. I was waiting for the second half to open the play. We created 5-6 chances and couldn’t finish in the second 45. In the first half, we waited for them to make mistakes and they ended up doing that four times.” 

Nepal’s mentality in match

Similarly, the Nepali tactician hailed his players for the strong mentality that they displayed after going two down in the fixture.

“I cannot blame any player for the second goal,” said Abdullah Almutairi. “We were a goal down, we should have pushed higher and we did. Despite conceding the second, we came back and fought. I’m very happy with the mentality that we showed today. I don’t care about the friendlies’ results. After I wake up tomorrow, I’ll only remember that I had 25 brave Gorkhalis with me.”

SAFF Championship & Nepal squad

When asked about the changes he made in the starting lineup and the debuts he gave to young players, Almutairi stated the SAFF Championship to be the primary reason. “In SAFF, we won’t have time to recover fully between our games,” he said. “We need to get 22 players ready for that. All of them must be 100% for us to do well. Everyone that you saw today, plus Rohit Chand, will be the part of our SAFF Championship squad.” 

In addition, Abdullah Almutairi stated that the team will also have Rajan Gurung, today’s debutant, train with the squad. “Rajan made his debut against India, playing in front of the home crowd. Although he won’t be there in the SAFF Championship playing squad, he’s a part of the team and will train under me,” the coach insisted.

Finally, Almutairi hinted that the Nepalese side were able, and can lift the SAFF Championship this year.

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