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Head Coach Bibiano reveals how change in mentality led to drastic change in India's performance against Japan

Bangkok [Thailand], June 24 (ANI): India U-17 Indian Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes reveals that a simple change in the mindset of the players led to such a performance.

The Indian team may have been knocked out of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup in the Group Stage on Friday, but their performance in the last match against defending champions Japan still looked promising after the performance they managed to put out.

Having gone down 0-3 in the first half of their last match of Group D against Japan, India produced an exceptional performance in the second half.

However, Japan's quality allowed them to see through the game with a victory in the end, as they won 8-4.

"I'm so happy with the character that the boys showed in the second half against Japan. At half time, we all spoke and decided to completely put the first half result behind us. Yes, we were down 0-3, but it's more difficult when you have that in mind. We decided that we just wanted to try and win the second half," said Fernandes as quoted by AIFF.

This small change instantly worked as two minutes into the second half, Mukul Panwar connected with a free-kick by Vanlalpeka Guite to score India's first goal, something that showed India that the mighty Japan can be messed with.

"We knew about the quality of the opponents. They are the defending champions, and sometimes it was so difficult to just execute the plans that we had brought to the game. They simply overpowered our plans in the first half.""We were trying to stop their play in the midfield in the first half, but after the break, we tried pushing even further. We put three in the front to press their defence, and then three more behind them to pick up the scraps, and the boys responded brilliantly. To come back like that against an opposition of such high quality is a positive result for us," Fernandes added.

The small contingent oof the Indian fans gave a standing ovation to the entire team and goalscorer Danny Meitei could not believe that such a positive reaction could come from the stands despite losing a match.

"I didn't know what to feel. We had lost, but I know we had played well. It was only when I saw the fans cheering us after the match, that we realized how special our performance in the second half was," said Danny.

"That leaves me wondering what could have happened, had we done the same in the first half, what could have happened if we had done it in the previous two matches?"Dannys signed off. (ANI)