India coach Roelant Oltmans heaped praise on the young striker Mandeep Singh after he helped India win the match against Japan 4-3 in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Ipoh.
He called Mandeep a crazy guy and said that looking at his number of goals, he is the best Indian striker. “Mandeep is always dangerous, a crazy guy. He is very difficult to defend.”
“In the circle, Mandeep creates chances out of nowhere. We have seen that many times. He’s still very young, and he’s getting better and better,” the coach said. “If you look at the number of goals, he’s surely out best striker.”
The Dutch coach said that apart from Mandeep, only Akashdeep Singh has scored so far in the tournament. “Akashdeep Singh is the only other striker who has scored for us so far. Our remaining goals have all come from penalty corners.”
Oltmans went on to say that by the next Olympics, a higher qualify of hockey can be expected from the 22-year old. “He is superbly fit. By the next Olympics, he’ll produce a higher quality of hockey,” Oltmans asserted.
“You can see not only in his attacking actions, but also the way Mandeep tries to put pressure on opponents. He’s always working on regaining the ball and that is an important part of our defensive structure,” he said.
Oltmans said that Mandeep is more or less the first defender when the opponents have possession. He confessed that India had to change their tactics at half time during the match against Japan.
“The Japanese fell back and just defending. But it gave them the opportunity to counter, and they did it quite well a few times,” the coach opined.
“We had clear plans how to handle that, but to be honest we didn’t do it well enough. It prompted us to change the tactics at half time.
He said that the last quarter saw good hockey when India created opportunities to score goals as things clicked for them. “The fourth quarter saw really good hockey. I think we created many opportunities and space in the last quarter. We also waited for the moment when we could score the goals and things clicked for us,” Oltmans added.
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