Karachi, Mar.2 (ANI): Upset over his team's lacklustre performance during the World Cup opener against India, Pakistan hockey coach Shahid Ali Khan has said his team just couldn't handle the enormous pressure and wilted away.
"Our boys failed to play their best game against India. I think they took too much pressure and were unable to follow the game plan," Khan said after India crushed Pakistan 4-1 in its opening tie of the World Cup on Sunday.
Interestingly, Khan blamed 'noisy' spectators for the defeat.
"Most of our players have never played in front of so many noisy fans.The noise at the ground was deafening and we were unable to even communicate with the players on the field," The Nation quoted Khan, as saying.
The Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi was packed to capacity (almost 20,000) to witness the match between the two arch rivals, which was dubbed as the 'match of the tournament.'
However, Khan clarified that he was not making any excuses for the loss and admitted that the senior players of the team did not click in the match.
"It's just that we made a bad start and India, in contrast, played really well." Shahid agreed that his senior trio of Waseem Ahmed, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi was unable to live up expectations.
" (Shahid) Waseem was completely off-colour and that was a real blow.He fumbled a lot. (Rehan) Butt and (Shakeel) Abbasi weren't at their best either," he said.
Khan defended star drag flicker Sohail Abbas, who could score just once off five short corners, saying he was just 'unlucky'.
"Sohail scored just once but he beat the goalie on three other occasions. We were unlucky because two of his strikes hit the crossbar while one was saved by a defender after their goalie was beaten by the flick," he said.
The Pakistani coach vowed that his charges will bounce back in their do-or-die encounter against Spain on Tuesday (today). (ANI)