India U-19 coach Johnson cautious ahead of UAE game

Ramallah (Palestine), Oct 3 (IANS) India U-19 football team coach Lee Johnson is expecting a tough challenge when his wards face the formidable United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the AFC U-19 Qualifiers here on Sunday.

The Indians had lost 0-1 to hosts Palestine in the opening game of their campaign. But Johnson is hoping that the team will bounce back by claiming an upset win against the UAE.

“The game against UAE will be challenging for us, after losing our first match. We need to be switched on throughout the course of the game and play to our full potential. They (UAE) have good technical players that can cause us problems, but we need to neutralize the threat early on and take control of the game,” Johnson was quoted as saying in a statement by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Saturday.

“You can’t change the past the only way to move is forward. The players must remain focused and concentrate on the game ahead. We are taking one match at a time and although UAE are a good side, we must not give them too much respect,” he added.

“We hope to create an upset and grab three points from the match.”

Although he was disappointed after defeat to Palestine, the Englishman is happy with the overall performance of the Indian players.

“A moment of complacency cost us the match. You cannot control individual errors in the game of football. We gave Palestine too much time in the early minutes of the match and that is when they capitalized. In the second half, we were the better side and had done enough to earn a draw. However I am proud of the character showed by the players in an intimidating atmosphere,” Johnson said.

“We were maintaining our shape and that made it tough for Palestine to break us down. The lads worked hard throughout the course of the match. However you need to score in the game of football to win and we did not score. It is as simple as that.”

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