New Delhi: Reacting to media reports about blaming coach Michael Nobbs for Indian hockey's Olympics debacle, star centre-forward Shivendra Singh denied having made any such statements, saying his comments have been "misconstrued."
Local media reported earlier on Friday that Shivendra has blamed Nobbs for changing the team's strategy at the last moment, which led to lack of coordination. However, talking to IBNLive.com after those reports, the Indian striker said, "I never made any such statement."
"All I said was things didn't go as we planned, which led to team coming under some pressure. I never blamed the coach [Nobbs] for changing our strategy at the last moment or for lack of coordination. I categorically deny all that," Shivendra said. "My statement has been misconstrued," he added.
"I never blamed the coach for anything. My statement has been misconstrued," Shivendra clarified.
However, the experienced Indian forward admitted that opponents figured out India's strategy which led to pressure on the defence and failure to convert attacks into goals. "Our right wing wasn't in full flow. Most of the teams blocked it out for us, which forced us to move in from the left which isn't our strength. That put us under pressure."
Shivendra refused to blame any one person for the failure, saying that a team has to click as a unit and they failed because they didn't grab their opportunities. "In big tournaments, you need to avail your chances. If you miss, it costs you. That's exactly what happened with us. It's a team game; a team fails and a team succeeds. All of us have to take the blame, not any one individual."
India finished 12th at the just-concluded London Olympics, where the team ended its league engagements without a point having lost all its five games. India then lost the 11th-12th place play-off match to South Africa to return home with their worst ever finish at the Olympics.