Indian women’s football team head coach Thomas Dennerby believes the team’s fitness has improved since he joined but said the team will need more time to meet his expectations. 

“Since we started and we worked a lot on the fitness level, I think we have raised the fitness level to a good level now,” he said in a media interaction.

“We are not ready yet, we have another three months. When you play the better teams, you need to be ready to have the fitness level. Because if you get tired, you take bad decisions.” 

The Indian women’s football team has played a friendly against host Bahrain after two friendlies against Tunisia and UAE in Dubai, ahead of the AFC Asia Cup to be held in India next year.    

The Swede had previously stressed on more pre-tournament friendlies and India has won two of its last friendlies, including a rout against Bahrain.

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“I think maybe the biggest change is in the attacking game. If you go back, you will see a lot of long balls. I am trying to have a more build-up (approach) all the way from the goalkeeper to the defending lines to the midfield,” he said.  

“I think the biggest changes that we are now trying are the crucial passes, the penetration passes, through passes.” 

“In defending, I think we are playing stricter in zonal defence now – in training sessions, how to work together, which position you should have, wherever the ball is. I think they (the players) understand what I want them to do in the defense game,” he added. 

Asked about the team’s preparation beyond the game, Dennerby said, “Yeah, it’s probably a combination of (diet, fitness, and psychology), of course.” 

“We did things in training, so we keep on doing that (during) yesterday’s game so that the attacking game, that takes normally a little bit longer, and then sort of organising the defense so we have to be patient with that.” 

The Indian contingent will face Chinese Taipei next on October 13. It will then travel to Sweden, where it will lock horns with Swedish Women’s Premier League sides Hammarby and Djurgårdens IF.

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