The Indian gaffer praised of hat-trick hero Chhetri after the game on Friday night.

India made a rousing start to the four-nation Intercontinental Cup with a thumping 5-0 victory over Chinese Taipei at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday. Captain Sunil Chhetri’s sublime hat-trick was the icing on the cake in the Blue Tigers’ win over their hapless opponents.

Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri and Coach Stephen Constantine later met the press in the customary post-match press conference.

India head coach Stephen Cinstantine lavished praise on his team’s dominating performance saying, “Today, we played very well and were up for it from the beginning and everything fell in place. The boys gave their everything, they were much sharper in this game than the previous two matches.”

“Obviously, it feels great for the win and I am very happy for Sunil to have scored his hat-trick and also by the encouraging performances of some of the young players,” he added.

Watch: Stephen Constantine talks in the post-match press conference

The gaffer lauded hat-trick hero Chhetri and was not surprised by his captain’s performance. “He is capable of changing the game at any time and today he could have scored five. I think he has been fantastic for me, for my time here and obviously I always expect great things from him.”

One of the players that caught the eye was youngster Anirudh Thapa and the Englihman had good things to say about him too. “I think he’s always delivered performances. This is the first time he has started a game for India and I think he had a very good game.”

“We need these kinds of games to give opportunities to such players to show what they can do. Thapa has great potential and works hard. We need that to continue. He (Thapa) could be with the national team for the next ten years,” asserted Constantine. 

The tactician had words of appreciation for Pronay Halder as well. “Pronay had injuries that excluded him from camps. He reminds me of me as a young player, very aggressive. He’s the destroyer in the team. I am very pleased that he got that goal. It was a fantastic strike.”

However, amidst the euphoria Constantine stressed on the need to exercise caution saying, “We are pleased with the result today, but let’s not get carried away. We have tougher games coming up against stronger opponents.”


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“We are happy for the game, happy for the result, happy for the players who played the way we wanted them to. But, the bigger test lies ahead and I am already thinking about the next game,” the Englishman asserted.

The man of the moment, Chhetri was asked about his beautiful combination play with the “Mizo Sniper”, Jeje Lalpekhlua on which he said, “It comes down to the fact that we have played together for so many years, also down to the fact that he is supremely talented.”

“He is very knowledgeable and works really hard on his game. He is somebody who I respect a lot and I think he is one of our best players,” Chhetri said before adding, “I try my best to help him and so does he. He creates a lot of opportunities for me to score and the pass for my first goal today was absolutely brilliant.”

“He is so strong that he occupies three defenders and works it really hard and my work becomes easier because of him,” the skipper concluded.