The Blue Tigers’ tactician was delighted with his side’s win.
India picked up their first win of the SAFF Championship with a 0-1 victory over Nepal on Sunday. They now rank third in the standings. The Blue Tigers dominated the match with 75% possession and 20 shots, compared to Nepal’s four. But, it took a 82nd-minute goal from captain Sunil Chhetri to hand Igor Stimac and Co. their first win at the tournament.
Following the match, the Indian head coach shared a few words at the post-match press conference.
“Obviously, in the end, we’re very happy with these three points. They are now keeping us until the very end; with a great possibility of finishing in the finals. I’m very happy and grateful (to) how our boys responded today, on nearly everything. I say nearly because we once again proved (that) scoring is a point where we need to improve,” Igor Stimac began.
“From chances like that we need to score. It’s as simple as that. Games like these become easy, otherwise you have to suffer until the end. But, we need to be patient, of course.”
Regarding Sunil Chhetri’s role
Stimac was also asked about Sunil Chhetri’s records and the crucial role that he has been playing for the team. To this, he joyously responded, “He could (have) made the difference earlier (had he scored the first half sitter). He’s keeping us all nervous till the end. We are all happy for him and the whole team is working for him. They’re all working hard for him, so that he can keep scoring goals.”
On his celebration after goal
Further, the 54-year-old was questioned about his celebration after Chhetri’s goal, as it was perceived to be disrespectful to Nepal’s head coach Abdullah Almutairi. Unwittingly, the Croatian asked, “I’m not sure what’s wrong with my celebration. Can you tell me?”
Adding on, he quipped, “I think he should ask himself what he meant when he said India has 95% favour (chances of winning). That’s disrespectful to his team. He shouldn’t be thinking about myself and my celebration. I’m sorry that he mentioned this because nothing was wrong with my celebration. Or maybe, I don’t have the right to celebrate.
“I’m doing my job and I’m a professional doing the best I can. I’m trying to stay concentrated on what my players are doing on the pitch, not (thinking) about how I’m going to celebrate my goals. I think that’s what coaches do; their responsibility. Maybe, some other coaches think about how they celebrate goals. They’re becoming like players,” the 54-year-old added.