SA hockey men rue mistakes

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Tim_Drummond Gallo Images Tim Drummond of South Africa.

Santander, Spain – Midfielder Tim Drummond believes South Africa will bounce back from their 6-5 loss to India on Sunday if the team can cut down on mistakes that cost the side goals.

“We spoke about it afterwards, they are all problems we can solve and if we just get those right, then there will be a massive improvement going forward,” Drummond said after scoring SA's second goal against world number ten India.

“But (there were) lessons learnt this evening and we've just got to correct them pretty soon because we've got a tough game coming up against Spain.” India capitalised on South African errors throughout the game, turning possession over and hitting SA on the counter attack in typical Indian fashion.

Trailing 5-1 with a half-an-hour to play, Drummond and his team looked to be out of the contest, but a brave comeback – led by the Durban-based midfielder himself – saw SA score four goals in the second half to come close to catching up to the Indians.

“We are a side that never give up. We played right to the last minute and I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time,” Drummond said of his goal.

“We had been playing well throughout the whole game, it was just silly errors that got us into the position to be 5-1 down.

“I think the fightback was always there, we just had to get the momentum and get it going.”

Drummond said there was a lot to look at after the game, but added that SA had to be sharp in defence, as India showed clinical touches on the counter attack.

“They (India) are an extremely dangerous side going forward, so if we can be on top of our game defensively against them in the second game, there will be a massive improvement.

“You attack as a team, you defend as a team, so I think the errors were actually made quite high up on the field, myself included. So we have to cut that out and then defend as a unit.

“The Indians pass and move extremely well and they are lightning quick, so as a team I think we have to defend better.”

SA will have to recover quickly, with Spain lying in wait on Monday, before SA's 17-day European tour wraps up with the second against India.

Drummond admitted the team would have to work on their approach to the game both on and off the field, with a change in mindset necessary to overcome the higher-ranked India in the return fixture on Wednesday.

“It's all mental, and if we can sharpen up mentally and be consistent in our mental approach throughout the whole game then we will be better.

“Technically and tactically we are right up there and we showed it, (that is) why we had so much possession in the second half.

“It's more our own errors which are probably the main issues, so if we can control our mistakes then I think that is our biggest focus for the next game against them.

“We know their strong points. We know we can attack them, but it's mainly just worrying about ourselves in doing what we know and what works for us.” – Sapa


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