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The Croatian boss suggested that the Indian players have very quickly adjusted to the new philosophy and have done fairly well in the last one year…

Indian national team head coach Igor Stimac suggested that the ‘4-2-3-1’ formation is best suited for the Indian team.

The Croatian touched upon his preferred formation during an interaction with several Indian coaches in the International Virtual Coaching Conference organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday.

Stimac mentioned that he has been trying to transform the Indian team to play possession-based attacking and attractive football since the time he had joined the national side, back in 2019. 

He also pointed that before his arrival, the team used to play too many long balls and struggled to keep possession. But, he felt that in the past one year, the team has improved a lot in that area. 

The former Croatia national team coach further explained the advantage of a 4-2-3-1 formation and said that this was a system more suited to possession football. 

“We have had to adapt to a system where players would play more with the ball and spectators would love to watch. We have switched to 4-2-3-1 where the game starts from the goalkeeper and the centre-backs play a major role in controlling the game.”

Further elucidating on the philosophy, Stimac suggested that the formation also allows the full-backs to make overlapping runs down the flanks and attract the opposition defenders which in turn allows the attacking players to find free spaces.

“There are connected movements and players need to be intelligent to make quick decisions. Full-backs need to make a run forward so they find free spaces in between and hurt the opponent. They need to learn to run behind the opponent’s backline. Even wingers can come inside and fullbacks go to the side-lines to utilise free space.”

“Success in 1v1 positions help you gain greater results. Wingers need to take responsibility and show greater character on the pitch. We expect them to show good dribbling, better crossing and shooting,” said the former Croatian international defender.

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The India head coach spoke highly about his own players and suggested that they have successfully transitioned from the previous style of football in a very short time and have produced significant results in the past year.

He also shared his training module which has helped the players adjust to his philosophy.

“In order to improve our passing, we conduct small-sided games. It improves players’ passing accuracy and their movements after passing the ball. We need our wingers to be more confident in 1v1 positions. Ashique (Kuruniyan) and Udanta (Singh) are the quickest guys in our team. Now, we need to work harder to improve their crossing.

“Everyone involved with Indian Football is working hard to make it count. Our short-term goal is to qualify for the next AFC Asian Cup which will grow our confidence and then advance further. Our long-term goal is obviously to qualify for the FIFA World Cup,” said Stimac.

The Croatian boss also hailed AIFF’s Golden Baby Leagues project and felt hopeful the grassroots programs will ensure a bright future for India.

“With Golden Baby Leagues, grassroots and all other programs going in full swing, we can be sure that our future is going to be brighter.”

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October 1, 2020
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