The India coach also answered his critics who questioned him for not paying attention to the I-League. Stimac mentioned that Venkatesh, who is a part of his coaching staff, is in charge of the Indian Arrows side and is watching the I-League from close quarters.
He also opined that the I-League currently functions as a feeder to the Indian Super League (ISL) but he also mentioned that the doors of the national team for I-League performers aren't shut.
"Some people were worried that I didn't follow I-League this year but I have Venkatesh there and he is involved in every single game so I have great numbers, statistics from the I-League. That is the way we follow. ISL is the professional part of Indian football, it is very well organised and from this part, the players are coming to the national team.
"From I-League, because it has a lower quality of football, I consider I-League for now as a filter for the ISL. It is a platform where young Indian players develop, grow and gets recognised by ISL clubs and signed by them. Which doesn't mean that some of the I-League players can't get on the national team list," said the India coach.
When Stimac says that the I-league has a lower quality of football, I can't agree with him. He has himself said that he has not followed the I-league this year (not sure what info Venkatesh has provided him), otherwise he could make out that the quality of some of the I-League games was better than that of the ISL.
Some might say that his comment that "which doesn't mean that some of the I-League players can't get on the national team list," means that he hasn't shut the door for I-League players but I find it a far cry from his initial statement that 'the players [in the I-League] need to know that each player in the league with an Indian passport is one of the possible future candidates for the national team.'
Style of Play
Under Cacic, the Croatian team has played
with both a 4-2-3-1 formation and a 4-1-4-1 formation. The two are
similar in that they both have one center forward, three central
midfielders, and two wide players. Both formations rely on having a
midfield triangle, which can keep possession by passing among itself.
When attacking, up to seven players can comfortably press up the pitch.
The fullbacks can support the wide midfielders by pushing up, leaving
one defensive midfielder and the two center backs to remain on defense.
However, the wide players have to be cognizant of the threat of a
counterattack, which can happen if they press too high. In addition, it
is important that the wide midfielders support their fullbacks on
The 4-2-3-1 tends to play with a central
attacking midfielder. The two deeper midfielders can both be holding
midfielders, or they can more complementary, with one being a deep-lying
playmaker. To maintain a midfield triangle, a holding midfielder can
push forward into a more advanced role. The CAM often wears the number
10 shirt, and is the creative attacker of the team. He is responsible
for making passes and through balls in order to supply the striker with
opportunities. Good dribbling and vision are also key in the role, and
the ability to take shots from long range is useful as well.
The 4-1-4-1 looks similar to the 4-3-3 formation, except that the wide
players sit deeper. This formation is versatile and flexible, because it
can quickly swap into a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, or even a 4-4-2. Moreover,
there is a lot of flexibility in the types of midfielders that can be
used. While a defensive holding midfielder is necessary in virtually
every formation, the two more advanced central midfielders can range
from box-to-box midfielders to more attacking-minded number 10s.
Moreover, with just one substitution, the team can switch formations;
taking off one of the central midfielders in exchange for a CAM can
change the formation to a 4-2-3-1, and pushing the wingers further up
and putting on a passing-minded midfielder can create a 4-3-3.
Stimac has a very Old-School Croatian thought process. A bit outdated in Croatia as their footballers learn more physicality and new approaches every season after playing in European clubs, Stimac will definitely try to implement his Midfield triangle technique with Indian players.