Abu Dhabi: Indian International Defender Sandesh Jhingan on Friday said hosts UAE may pose a serious threat to the country’s group stage campaign, but maintained the onus will be on India in the AFC Asian Cup, beginning in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
India has been clubbed in Group A alongside Thailand, Bahrain and hosts UAE. They play their first match on Sunday against Thailand, followed by games against UAE and Bahrain on January 10 and 14, respectively.
“UAE is the host team and I feel they will be tough to face. But I believe that the onus is all on us. If any team is over-confident or not at the top of its game, they can be beaten,” Jhingan was quoted as saying by All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) official website.
"If you are prepared as a team and focused on the job at hand, you can make the game tough for the opponents,” he added.
India was knocked out in the group stage in 2011, the last time they qualified, losing all three of their matches. Asked about the side’s chances in this edition, Jhingan said: “it will be tough but not impossible”.
“We have to stick to our plan and perform as the coach wants us to. We have to keep showing the unity which has made us stand out. If we do that, we can grind out the results we need,” he added.
India will take on Thailand in the first game of their campaign on 6th January.