We need to be a little more frugal in defence, admits Graham Reid

India men’s team hockey coach Graham Reid feels that his players need to be more frugal in defence, with him admitting that it was work in progress. The men in blue recently returned home after a successful tour of Argentina, where they defeated the reigning Olympic champions twice.

The Indian hockey team recently returned from Argentina, after completing a six-match tour, which included a couple of FIH Pro League ties. The Graham Ried-coached side scripted back-to-back victories against the reigning Olympic champions in the Pro League matches, thus climbing up to the fourth spot in the league table.

With India already qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and the event starting in less than 100 days from now, the preparations are in full swing. In the build-up to the Games and the inference from the South American tour, the head coach feels that the team needs to be frugal in defence.

“We need to be a little more frugal in defence. That’s still valid. It’s always (a) work in progress. As we play against [top] teams, they will try and do things differently to try and beat us. So we have to constantly change our structure a little bit,” said Graham Reid, during an interview with TOI.

“That’s the great thing about competition — the ability to keep plugging the hole. So when a team [opposition] does that, this is what we do. So if you have experienced it before, you end up with better planning at the end of it,” added the Australian.

India have scored just 22 goals in the eight matches played in the FIH Pro League, which is the lowest among the top-five. However, the strong display in the defence has evened out the goal-difference. But, going forward, Reid is adamant to make sure that they convert most of the opportunities created.

“The other thing, of course, is we are trying to make sure we make the most of all the opportunities and try and convert those opportunities into better ones. We had a good number of circle penetrations, but we would like to create more quality opportunities. That’s what we will be spending a bit of time on between now and Europe [Pro League tours]. We are working on that,” explained the former Olympic Silver medallist.

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