Our home record is fairly good but outside home we have really struggled, admits Sunil Chhetri

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Our home record is fairly good but outside home we have really struggled, admits Sunil Chhetri

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SportsCafe Desk

05/06/2018

Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has lamented the national side’s record on the pitch away from home as a major concern ahead of the preparations for the AFC Asian Cup to be played next year. Chhetri also added that he doesn't care about FIFA rankings and just wants the team to gel well.

The Indian national football team under the guidance of Stephen Constantine were on a superb run of going 13 games undefeated before they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Kyrgyz Republic. However, many critics have been vocal about their opinion as to how the senior team has gone about with their matches, as some claimed that the unbeaten streak was due to weak opposition apart from anything else.

Captain Sunil Chhetri however, did not speak too much about such claims but admitted that the men in blue need to improve their away-game record if they want to perform well at the much-hyped 2019 AFC Asian Cup which will be played in the UAE.

"What I'm looking forward is winning games outside the country which is very important. Our home record is fairly good but outside home we have really struggled. I just hope in the next six months we get more away games against much better opponents so that we can test ourselves. What we are facing (in Asian Cup) are the best in Asia," Chhetri told PTI.

The last time India participated in the prestigious tournament they exited in the group stage after being drawn against Asian giants like Australia, South Korea and Bahrain. Many fans have heaved a sigh of relief as India were drawn with Thailand, Bahrain and home team UAE, who are supposedly easy opponents, but Chhetri opined otherwise.

"If you say it can be easier because we are doing well that can be a valid point. But we can't say it is UAE, Thailand and Bahrain and so it is easier. Only because we are not facing Australia and South Korea people think it's going to be easy. It is not," he said on the sidelines of an initiative by KIA Motors India to select two school children as official match ball carriers for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

"UAE is ahead of us and they are playing at home. Thailand is the most improved side in Asia in the last six years. We played against Thailand in six-seven years ago and it was a 2-2 draw. They are competing with the best in Asia. Australia and Japan are finding difficult to beat Thailand."

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