Heartbroken after conceding a late goal to be held to a 1-1 draw by lower-ranked St Kitts and Nevis, India coach Stephen Constantine said that his team has learnt some important lessons from the game.
"We had enough chances to finish the game twice, but we didn't take those chances. In the end, we were stung by a corner, which was disappointing (because) we had worked on it. It is football, it happens, so we will take a lesson from this," Constantine told reporters after the match last night.
Jackichand Singh gave the home side the lead in the 38th minute but Amory Gvaune scored the equaliser in the 125th minute for St Kitts and Nevis in the 72nd minute to split points with the home side.
The coach also seemed unhappy with the way his boys started the game.
"No, we didn't start as brightly as we should do. The last time when any of them played a 90 minute game, it was at the end of the I-League season, last year May. That's why I needed these two games before Macau," said the coach.
Constantine said he was worried about the manner in which his boys conceded goals.
"Someone is going to score, not you always. We won one and drew one. I am worried about how we conceded the goal, not that we conceded but how we conceded," said Constantine, whose side's winning streak of nine games ended last night.
Constantine, who has a penchant for giving young players a chance to play, refused to speak on individual performances but said that games like these, give them the experience.
"If we are talking about young players (in general), these are the kind of games, we look to put them in, to give them the experience. Both of these boys (Anirudh Thapa and Nikhil Pujari) are with me in the U-23, so they know what to expect in terms of training, philosophy, which is again I go back to.
"It is so important for the U-19s, 17s, 15s, to follow the same formula. If there is a U-17 (player), that would obviously be 18 this year, if he is good enough, then why can't he play in the national team if everything is the same?" said Constantine.
"So it is good that I oversee the U-23s, coach U-23s. I know that they would end up representing the country for years to come. I don't play kids for the sake of playing them, I am not interested in giving debuts to kids who are not having the potential," he added.
He hoped that the majority of the players who have been selected would go on to represent India.
"I am a believer in players doing work. We are a team, who does not have a great deal of possession when we are playing in Asian Cup. We need to do more to keep the ball, and I thought Robin (Singh) did not do enough in the first half (in the game against Mauritius), and Balwant (Singh) had his opportunities, and he made a difference in the second half, besides getting the goal, he shut them (Mauritius) down.
"He (Balwant) did not do enough of what he did in the last game, so Robin got his chance (in the second half)," explained the coach.
Meanwhile, St Kitts and Nevis coach Jacques Passy said his team performed well towards the end of the match.
"I would rate my team from 0-30, I would give them 8, from 30-60, I would give them five, but in the 60-90, I would give it 9 or 9.5. By the 85th minute, the team that was pressurised was India. I am happy with the performance of the last third of the game," he said.