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Paraguay might have become the first team from Group B to qualify for the knock-out stage of the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup, but the South American side's coach Gustavo Morinigo feels they need to work more on their defensive structure.
Paraguay defeated Mali 3-2 in their opening match before beating New Zealand 4-2 last night despite conceding two own goals to seal their place in the next round.
"I am very concerned with the defence and I realise that we are risking too much and are open. I know my strikers can score goals. For the next game, we need to work more on our defence and tactics," Morinigo told reporters at the post match press conference.
"It is all about players. We have been trying to develop our players. We want to focus on the defensive part where we are lacking and we need to work on it," he explained.
At the half way stage, New Zealand were 2-1 ahead courtesy two own goals scored by Paraguay skipper Alexis Duarte, but the coach said that he advised his players to be calm in the break.
"In the half time, I told the boys to keep working and stay calm. I told the captain it was the whole team's responsibility and as humans we make mistakes and we have to work with teammates to make sure that we revert this result," he added.
According to the coach, Paraguay was playing a "more frontal game", but when they saw New Zealand come out and block them, they changed their strategy.
"We try to teach them to be physically and mentally consistent despite the results. They are disciplined players. We are trying to develop them mentally as they are the future of football in Paraguay," Morinigo said.
The coach refused to pick a single player for special praise, instead credited the whole team for the win.
"All of them are man of the match and I have to make a special mention of the team captain because we know he was guilty of scoring two own goals, but he also made possible to revert the result," Morinigo said.
Anibal Vega, who stuck a brace and brought Paraguay into the match, also credited team effort for the hard-fought win last night.
"It is difficult to come back when you are two goals down but I have to congratulate the team because it was a team work. We always kept our faith. Our heads were up and that's how we were able to revert the result," Vega said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Danny Hay admitted that the Kiwis were put under tremendous pressure by Paraguay.
"We just made couple of individual errors. But that is football and these are young players and they are going to make mistakes and learn from them. We were playing against a very good team and they put us under pressure and it was a difficult one to take," Hay said.
New Zealand play Mali in their final Group B game in New Delhi on October 12, and the coach expects a tough outing in the upcoming contest.
"We know that Mali are a very strong side and are one of the clear favourites to win the tournament. Beating the African side will be difficult and they have shown how dangerous they are. We are going have to be at our best and just try and regroup," Hay added.
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