Bhubaneswar: Indian men's hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh has stated that the team could not afford to miss the crucial chances against Belgium like they did against South Africa in their first league match of the ongoing 14th edition of the Hockey World Cup on Wednesday.
India defeated South Africa 5-0 in the first league match of the tournament and will next face the Rio Olympics finalists Belgium in the second match of the Pool C.
The skipper underscored that Belgium, being a quality side, will not give India the second chance which is why they should not repeat the mistakes they committed against Canada.
"Overall, we played a good game but we still need to improve. We got many chances in the match but we missed them. We could not convert many of the penalty corners. Our next match is with Belgium and we should not miss the crucial chances," Manpreet said.
"Belgium are a good side. They have the ability to punish us for our mistakes. We need to keep our defence strong against them," he added.
Praising his team for putting up a good show on the field, the captain said that they all showed good energy and played a matured hockey in the day.
Indian coach Harendra Singh, on the other hand, also pointed towards the poor penalty corner conversion rate of his side. He, however, added that not letting the South African team score a single goal in the match is a good sign for India.
"No goal was scored against India which is a good sign for us. It indicates that our defence was good in the match. The penalty corner conversion rate, however, needs to be improved," Harendra said.
When asked to highlight the weak points of the Indian side in the match, the coach said that he is not going to touch upon that point as this is something which would remain between players and the management.
He also talked about the changed role of forward player Akashdeep Singh in the team saying with his ability to eliminate one or two players while on the run is lethal for opponents.
"Yes, we have changed his role as this is the demand of the team. He has got the skill and capacity to eliminate one or two players on the run. It becomes lethal for the opponents as we have three strikers who keep floating inside the circle to grab the scoring opportunity. I am happy that he is playing his role pretty well. I hope he continues doing this," he said.
India will play their next league match against Belgium on December 2 at Bhubaneswar....