A gutsy comeback from Puneri Paltan fell just short as U.P. Yoddha held their nerve and came through to win 35-30 at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in Delhi on Monday. In the post-match press conference, assistant coach Arjun Singh, skipper Nitesh Kumar, raider Shrikant Jadhav and defender Sumit took questions for U.P. Yoddha, while Puneri Paltan were represented by coach Anup Kumar and raider Manjeet.
U.P . Yoddha
Q. Thoughts on the win?
Arjun Singh: Like yesterday, another brilliant performance from the team. We planned meticulously for their entire roster. Not just stars like Nitin Tomar. The defence did its job against the raiders that took the mat for them. We gave Shrikant Jadhav the responsibility of being the sole first choice raider and he proved his worth.
Q. Shrikant, how pleased are you with your performance?
Shrikant Jadhav: The coaches shouldered me with the responsibility of being the lead raider but did not pressurise me. They told me to play my game and express myself out on the mat and belief like that gives you a lot of confidence as a player. I'm pleased I could repay the coaching staff's trust. Listening to the coach and captain’s advice was the key to my performance.
Q. Nitesh, what good will this win do the team's confidence?
Nitesh Kumar: We already have the utmost confidence in our roster. All we needed was some trust in each other’s abilities to get the chemistry right and we are finally doing just that. In the last match, it wasn’t at the level that would've liked but today, the team harmony was spot on.
Q. Thoughts on Sumit's impact?
Nitesh Kumar: Last season, teams planned against me and tried to attack from the left flank against us but with the way Sumit’s been playing, it gives the opposition a headache as to what the ideal strategy would be. His emergence has been crucial and as a captain, it does take the pressure off me knowing I have an excellent Corner backing me up.
Q. Thoughts on the match?
Anup Kumar: It was an excellent game from start to finish. To comeback like we did was phenomenal. A lot of the credit goes to Manjeet. As far as the defence goes, the unit played extremely well in the past two matches but repeated some of the mistakes from the previous matches today.
Q. Not a lot of support for Manjeet today. Thoughts on the team combination?
Anup Kumar: We only field players that have been doing well in training. It’s not about giving this player a chance or showing bias towards another. It’s about doing well in practice.
Q. What could have gone differently?
Manjeet: We did well to cut down their lead to just two, but we showed impatience in defence during those last two minutes and that probably cost us the game.