Sat, 23 Nov 2019

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Oct 18 (ANI): Ahead of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers against Russia, coach Graham Reid believes that the Indian hockey team is performing consistently as they maintained the cent per cent winning record in their Belgium tour.

"The consistency of our performances against Belgium and Spain, and it was good to see that we kept building momentum as the tour progressed. For me, the good takeaways were that our running, effort, speed and intensity was actually even higher than last year's World Cup," Reid said.

The Indian team have been in fine form lately, winning the FIH Men's Series Finals in June, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Test Event in August, and then winning all five of their matches against World Champions Belgium and world number eight Spain as part of their preparations for the much anticipated Olympic Qualifiers.

Speaking ahead of the announcement of his team for the Qualifiers, Reid said that he is satisfied with the performances his team put in against Belgium and Spain during their preparatory tour, but wants his players to maintain the momentum when they take on world number 22 Russia on November 1 and 2 here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.

"We have been in the process of debriefing our Belgium Tour to go back and work out what we did well, what were the things we needed to improve on, and then come up with the objectives that we are going forward within the coming two weeks. We have almost finished that process and its been a really good exercise for the team, and it is also good for the players that they understand what are the things that they do when they are playing well," Reid said.

"There were things like good pressure on the ball, good structure and those things were quite evident when we went back to see how we played in Belgium. We've had a good week here in Bhubaneswar to determine what were the outcomes from that preparatory tour, and now is the time to continue working in that direction," he added.

Reid, who took over as the coach of the Indian team in April 2019, also spoke about the return of some players from injury during their Belgium Tour.

"The players who have been long-term injured returned to the team in Belgium, and I feel it was good for them to get back into the groove of playing consistently at that level. It was a really good experience for them to be able to play again, and it also gave me an opportunity to see them closely, and now select the best 18-member team for the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha," Reid said. (ANI)

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