Indian head coach Graham Reid reckons it was important for them to play well for their pride after their convincing 8-0 win over Japan in the classification round on Thursday at Rourkela. The Men in Blue were knocked out of the FIH Hockey World Cup after New Zealand stunned them by 5-4 on penalties in the pre-quarters.
However, India registered their biggest win in the World Cup against Japan, bettering their previous 7-0 win over Ghana at the 1975 World Cup.
“It was a tough three days, to be honest. Everyone had a mixture of a lot of feelings – disappointment and frustration – that we had let people down. But what I was proud of today was that we tried to keep the focus on the next two games. But it’s only half the job done. We would put some context on the fact that Asian Games is coming later in the year and we will be playing Japan at some point, so it was important to play well today, and also for our pride,” said Reid in the press conference.
Meanwhile, Reid joined the Indian team back in 2019 and led the side to a Bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Reid’s contract runs till the Paris Olympics but the Australian is not sure about his future with the team after a disappointing run at the World Cup.
“I have signed a contract through to the end of the Paris Olympics, but we will review, I assume, at the end of the World Cup. Next game is what we are focussing on,” he said.
Earlier, Reid feels a mental conditioning coach will do a world of good for the team in order to prepare them for the big matches and believes it will be apt if he is an Indian coach.
“It’s different when you are operating inside your environment. I need the ability to trust them and the coaching group as well. I feel we have been doing well in the last quarters of games, where we have scored a number of goals in the last minute. I felt we were making progress on the mental toughness side of things. And seeing the World Cup and being in a home World Cup, does bring extra pressure. Sometimes that’s difficult to process. I also needed to feel we can trust that person and we needed it to be the right person. I think it needs to be an Indian,” he added.