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Need to create more scoring opportunities, admits hockey captain Harmanpreet

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NEW DELHI, June 17 (PTI): Men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh on Saturday admitted India will have to focus on conceding fewer goals from the touchline and create more scoring opportunities in the striking circle if they are to be ready for the upcoming challenges, including the Asian Games.

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India returned home from their recent European outing with a mixed bag of results in the FIH Pro League, with the team winning four of the eight matches it played over two weeks.

India lost 1-2 and won 5-1 against Belgium, while they lost 2-4 and won 4-4 (4-2) in the shootout against Great Britain. In the double-header against Argentina, India won 3-0 and 2-1, while the team lost 1-4 and 2-3 to the Netherlands.

“There were a number of takeaways from the matches in Europe. We conceded goals from the touchline and that needs to be fixed. There is also work to be done on converting the chances we create in the ‘D’.

“While playing top European teams is always a good learning experience, we will now focus on bringing our best game to the fore against top Asian sides in the Asian Champions Trophy and Asian Games,” said the captain in a release.

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India finished their campaign as provisional table toppers with 30 points from 16 Pro League matches.

This was also the team’s first outing under new chief coach Craig Fulton, who replaced Australian tactician Graham Reid.

“Craig brings a lot of positivity into the team and he is very clear in his thoughts and expectations on how we must play as a team.

“In these matches (in Europe), the focus was more on executing a disciplined structure in our game, with emphasis on defending well,” added Harmanpreet.

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The Indian team is currently on a break, and will start preparing for the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) once the training camp resumes.

The ACT will be held in Chennai from August 3 to 12 while the Asian Games are slated to be held in Hangzhou, China in September-October.

Speaking about the Pro League outing in London and the Netherlands respectively, Harmanpreet said, “Overall, I think it was a good outing. Playing away games against top sides is always challenging and I think we lived up to the billing.”




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