NEW DELHI, March 6: Indian football team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu says they will look to erase the ghost of the disastrous outing in 2011 Asian Cup by �giving everything on the pitch� when they compete in the continental event next year.
India were hammered by Asian giants South Korea, Australia and Bahrain in the last edition, conceding a staggering 13 goals in three matches.
Things are different though this time around, following a fabulous 13-match unbeaten run under coach Stephen Constantine.
�It�s never easy to play against good teams and especially who are regular competitors in the Asian Cup. In 2011, the team gave all their efforts and in 2019 also we will give our everything on the pitch and try to leave an impression,� Sandhu told PTI during an interview.
He added: �The national team has grown in the last two-three years and if we keep going like that then we can put up a good fight there (in the UAE).�
The lanky custodian became the first Indian to ever play in Europe�s top division and the only national team player to ever start in an Europa League game, for Norwegian club Stabaek FC in May 2016.
Constantine�s contract was recently renewed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) amid speculations that some senior players objected to his style of functioning.
�He has been a very important part in my national team career. He gave me the opportunity to play for India. He has been a very influential person in the national team over the last three years. We have progressed under him.�
Asked about his specific target for the year, Gurpreet said he is seeking to maintain peak fitness through the season.
�I want to play as many games possible for the club and country and I want myself to stay fit so that I am available for selection for the Asian Cup, we�ll take one step at a time. If we keep going like that then we can put up a good fight there.� � PTI