Santander, Spain: India's second friendly hockey Test against Spain ended with mixed feelings for coach Michael Nobbs, who thinks the 2-1 loss against the hosts could have been turned into a win had his boys done a better job with their finishing and not missed "four open goal chances".
After holding the world number five team to a spirited 3-3 draw in the first Test, India didn't lift themselves enough and squandered a plenty of scoring opportunities, much to the dismay of their Australian coach.
"Yesterday's game was a very good contest and we should have won. We have improved every game in the general playing style, but we are letting ourselves down with finishing. If we can overcome this, we will be a very formidable team. This is proving challenging but not insurmountable," Nobbs said after Saturday's loss.
"We had another 36 circle penetrations yesterday and four open goal chances missed. Frustrating as we are so close to delivering some impressive results," the coach added.
However, Nobbs said as far as field play was concerned, India are now a force to reckon with in world hockey.
"Our general field play now, I am comfortable, is matching all the top teams and [I] have no fear that we can't perform consistently against the top teams. The only thing left is our finishing and not being more aware of the time in the last part of either half - to be more controlled."
India have been on the road in Europe since June 24 and will next take on South Africa in two Tests before playing a three-nation invitational tournament involving the hosts and Great Britain as the other two teams - followed by the London Olympics.
But Nobbs said it was, in a way good, for the team and will help him assess the players' fitness and give match experience to the whole squad in case anyone gets injured.
"Today [Sunday] we play South Africa. Three games in 4 days so far is a tough ask, but it's part of our preparation and our fitness program. They are fresh and we aren't, so we are using it to play a more controlled game. It's also giving us a chance to play the train on players to give them more experience in case of injury.