India football coach Igor Stimac has said that star defender Sandesh Jhingan would be out for four to five weeks after he suffered a seemingly hamstring injury in the first half of the match. He also said that now he is clear about who would be in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers.
After a heavy loss against Tajikistan in the very first match of the tournament, the coach had rued the absence of experienced defenders owing to injuries in the likes of Anas Edathodika, Jhingan and more. However, the Kerala Blasters man was seen on the pitch on Saturday starting against DPR Korea and the manager has now admitted that he should have known better than fielding him so early after injury. The centre-half was seen pulling his hamstring while going into a sliding tackle.
"Five-six of the eleven players were injured in the preparation period. I brought Anas (Edathodika) with me and he is training with us. I feel sorry for Sandesh (Jhingan) because he felt he is 100 per cent fit. We might lose him for 4-5 weeks again. This was not a good decision and I take full responsibility for this,” said Stimac after India lost 2-5 to North Korea, reported Goal.
"We missed Ashique (Kuruniyan) a lot because we need speed on both sides. I hope he comes back before the qualifiers. There are other players too – Jeje is important as he gives us options," he added.
The Croatian manager didn’t mince his words while explaining his team’s display in the first half, which was horrible as the hosts went down 3-0 in no time. While they came back stronger in the second half, it wasn’t enough eventually although the manager has claimed that now he has a clearer idea of his first eleven.
"I could not understand this because I told my players that they need to go out there and enjoy football as they represent their country. There were a lot of individual errors in the first half, we were not showing enough courage and not covering each other.
"The second half was a completely opposite story and I’m proud of that. Because when you go 3-0 down, it is very difficult to get up. You know that we had many problems with our defenders and are missing 6-7 very important players here in this squad. It was difficult to work like that but now everything is very clear to me – who we can count on and who we can’t. Every player has been given the chance and no one can say that I haven’t seen him," he explained.
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