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We need to play tough away games before Asian Cup: Chhetri

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Indian football team has turned into a decent home side but it is in desperate need for away games, says inspirational Sunil Chhetri, who feels the next target for the country should be a top-10 place in so that the big guns invite them over.

The 33-year-old was India's top-scorer with eight strikes in the just-concluded which clinched with a 2-0 win over in the final last night in

The is now aiming for a strong showing in the Asian Cup next year where are clubbed with UAE, and

"For Cup, the first thing that we need is to play many tough nations in away games. Well, whom we should be playing depends on the AIFF and our (Stephen Constantine) but we need away games now," Chhetri told during an interaction on the sidelines of a promotional event organised by

"Look, let's be honest. With our rankings (97), we can't invite the better ranked teams at home. Also we are a decent team at home. It's our away game that needs to improve," he added.

Chhetri, who yesterday equalled Lionel Messi's 64 international goals, further explained: "In my mind, the first goal is to get inside Asia's top 10 nations. We have to accept that we are still not there. Teams like Saudi Arabia, or are better than us."

While were way better than their opponents and Chinese Taipei, the match did show a lot of weaknesses in the Indian line-up.

Asked if there's a plan B in place if the first team stopper duo of and get injured, Chhetri tried to rationalise.

"You have to accept that there will be a difference between the first XI and the reserves. That's why they are first XI players. They are better than the reserves. I know (Singh) is young and inexperienced. But more matches that he plays, he will only get better," he said.

"If we take the game, we had made six to seven changes. The moment there are so many changes, it will be difficult for the reserve boys to come in play like the first team boys.

"If there's one change, then there are 10 others to carry the momentum. But yes, I would like the reserves to improve to a level which gives the a lot of Ranjan should try to get himself to the level of Sandesh and Anas," the said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 16:30 IST