India face an uphill task against the reigning Asian champions Qatar as they get ready to lock horns with the Asian champions at their home in a 2022 World Cup qualifier. This massive tie arrives just days after India's narrow defeat to Oman in Guwahati in the campaign opener.
India coach Igor Stimac, however, revealed that his team have had very little time to prepare for the big game against Qatar. He stated that India were more focused on their game against Oman which India had a realistic chance of getting at least a point from. However that was not to be as the Blue Tigers crashed to a 2-1 defeat.
Stimac also pointed out that the Asian champions, who won the continental title after conceding just one goal throughout the tournament, will be a tough nut to crack on Tuesday.
"To be honest we didn’t have much time for the Qatar game because of all our focus on the Oman game. We know that Qatar at the moment is far ahead of the Asian teams. They proved that in the Asian Cup, winning it very easily," he said.
"They had a very good tournament in Copa America. Once again they have proved that they have grown, grown very good."
The Croatian also felt that after the workload his charges had in the Oman game on Thursday, his focus was on recovery and keeping themselves fresh.
"We gave everything we have in the Oman game and just resting and refreshing our legs for tomorrow (Tuesday). So (we are doing) nothing special from a preparation point of view. We are working on refreshing the players and mostly talking to them (about the mindset required)."
He further assessed that Qatar, as a team, are very strong and it is hard to pinpoint weaknesses in Felix Sanchez Bas' team.
"I don’t want to talk too much about Qatari players, it’s not my style. They are very strong and now they are capable of playing against European teams. In a couple of years they will be capable of playing against the best teams in the world. Their physical strength is great, speed is fantastic, technical ability and movement are brilliant. When I look now and study the Qatari team, it is difficult to find weak points."
But that didn't stop Stimac from asserting that India will give it their all in Doha.
"In football anything is possible, we will never give up and do our best," he asserted. "Of course, we have our ways. We are working on stabilising our game, developing more young players so they can become players with more experience.
"We will try to get the chance to go to the final stage of the Asian Cup through these couple of years. We know that Qatar and Oman are in a different league from all of us in the group. We need to concentrate on Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Oman if we prove ourselves.”