Women's Asian Champions Trophy: Coach Neil Hawgood says India needs to control game for longer periods in final

Singapore: Indian women's hockey team coach Neil Hawgood today cautioned that the players need to control the game for longer periods if they are to subdue China in the summit clash of the Asian Championship Trophy on Saturday.

File image from India's match against China. Image credit: Twitter/TheHockeyIndia

File image from India's match against China. Image credit: Twitter/TheHockeyIndia

In their final league encounter India lost 2-3 to China, their only defeat in the tournament so far.

"I think if we can control the game for longer periods than we did tonight and not turn over the ball with simple basic mistakes, we will be able to control China a little bit better tomorrow," Hawgood told PTI over phone from Singapore.

"We are quite confident about tomorrow (Saturday). We have to stick to the plan at all times. Today we wavered away from it too many times. We need to keep that in check tomorrow," he said.

"China are very fast on the counter attack, and we need to prepare better for that off the ball."

Hawgood said the team was doing well but need to be more consistent.

"We have been a bit inconsistent in certain periods of games, so we have been getting results, but we are still chasing that consistent performance."

He further said China, Korea, Japan and India are quite even and games against any of these teams would be close.

Hawgood also insisted that his team's performance at the Rio Olympics should not be considered a debacle.

"I am not sure why people think Rio was a debacle, we were ranked 12th and finished 12th, it was the first time in 36 years the team had qualified," he said.

"Nothing has been accomplished until you continue to qualify for major tournaments consistently, that's when this group will be close to accomplishing something. The Olympics is something you need experience to be successful. These girls had no one to look up to, so they are pioneers for future Olympics," he added.