I always give 100 percent be it country or club: Clifford

December 6th, 2011 - 11:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 6 (IANS) India mid-fielder Clifford Miranda Tuesday hit-back at his critics, saying he always gives his 100 percent while playing for the country or club Dempo.

Miranda was under pressure after he squandered some easy chances in the 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in the opening game of the SAFF cup. He slammed his detractors Monday by scoring twice and assisting three in India’s 5-0 win over Bhutan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

“Whether I am playing for my country or club, I always give my 100 per cent. There are times when you end up playing better for club but, as far as commitment is concerned, I always give my best. Playing for my country is the biggest honour,” said Miranda after a training session at the Amdebkar Stadium on the eve of team’s crucial game against Sri Lanka.

The Dempo midfielder said it took some time for the Indian team to get used to the turf at the Nehru Stadium.

“It took us some time to get used to the ground as we had never played here. Yesterday, we did keep the ball in play,” he said.

Asked about the new Indian mid-field, Miranda said: “All of them - Climax (Lawrence), Steven (Dias), Anthony (Pereira) and Rocus (Lamare) — are good players. In the national team, it takes some time before you hit the right chord.”

On his performances in the two matches in the tournament, Miranda said: “I’m happy to have contributed to the team’s success. But one thing is for sure, we played well as a team and it gave us a victory.”

For Miranda, the tournament is sort of comeback to the national team, after a spate of injuries and a dip in form kept him out during the Asian Cup campaign earlier this year in Doha.

“I was part of the Asian Cup squad but couldn’t play as I was carrying a muscle tear and there was a dip in form. I was rightly benched by the coach (Bob Houghton),” he said.

Miranda was all praise for wing-back Syed Rahim Nabi, who has been a livewire in the tournament.

“Nabi is a fantastic player. He can play well at any position and that is very rare in football,” he said.

Miranda also praised junior mid-fielders Jewel Raja Sheikh and Lalrindika Ralte, who are not a regular in the starting eleven.

“They are very good players, very talented. But it’s the coach who makes the final choice on the particular day depending on the opposition.”

On the match against Sri Lanka, Miranda said: “Sri Lanka are very fast and agile. We can’t afford to be complacent against them. We will have to go out to win the match and qualify for the semis.”

The Goan also said that there is no pressure on the team to retain the title.

“We are focussed only on one thing - to play good football and to win the tournament. The team is desperate to retain the championship,” he said.

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