Manpreet Singh: Next three months crucial for Indian hockey team
Manpreet Singh reiterated that the players, who are missed in the team, due to injuries, would be fully fit by the Olympic qualifiers
Bengaluru: Indian men's hockey captain, Manpreet Singh on Thursday (July 18) said the next three months would be crucial for Indian hockey ahead of the final round of Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers in November.
"The next three months are critical for us, and whatever we are doing is with focus on sealing our Olympic Qualification in November," Manpreet said on the sidelines of the on-going national camp, PTI reported.
The team would first travel to Japan for the Olympic test event, which commences on August 17, where India would play against New Zealand, Malaysia and hosts Japan followed by the tour of Belgium in September.
"Our main priority right now is to qualify for the Olympics, but at the same time we do not want to come under pressure and be worried about who our opponent is going to be," he added.
Manpreet also said that a new coach, Graham Reid, has a good understanding of Indian hockey and continues to encourage India's counter-attacking play.
"The good thing working under Graham Reid is that he has closely followed India's performance over the years and understands our game well so in that sense he isn't changing our style," Manpreet said.
Though the team has been marred with injuries including experienced midfielder Chinglensana Singh's ankle fracture and forward Lalit Upadhyay's back strain, Manpreet believes that there are enough options in the core group who can soak up the pressure of international hockey.