ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team head coach and manager Shahnaz Sheikh termed heavy defeat against Australia as totally unacceptable and due to poor performance of players especially in the third and fourth quarters of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals Pool A match.

Talking to The Nation from Antwerp, Shahnaz said: “The boys were playing excellent and free flowing hockey and had kept world number 1 team Kangaroos well under check in the first two quarters. In fact, the green shirts were dominating and didn't give any chance to the Australians to dictate terms.

“Soon after the third quarter began, a green card was shown to Rizwan Senior, who didn’t commit any serious foul. After that, playing with 10 players, the green shirts found it too tough to stamp their authority and provided Australians advantage to get benefit of the situation fully and scored two crucial goals in the third quarter, which almost broke the backbone of our resistance and boys melt down under heavy pressure,” he added.

“I blamed boys for the poor goals they conceded. The goals could have easily stopped, as they were not field goals and we conceded childish goals. Our boys allowed Australians to score at least three extra goals, as I was expecting 2-1 or 3-1 score line in Aussies favour, but 6-1 demolition is really not acceptable,” the head coach said.

When asked about Imran's injury, Shahnaz replied: “Imran is feeling quite well and hopefully, his services will be available to the team in the do-and-die match against India. We lost against the top side and I have noticed the shortfalls of the team and will focus on removing those minor flaws.

“The boys didn't sit back and attended full-fledge training session. We have to face India today (Friday) and we are still alive in the tournament. We know Indians well and we will play attacking hockey against them and down them like we beat in the Champions Trophy,” he added.

Shahnaz asked the boys to forget about Australia defeat and think about all-important India match. “The tournament is still wide open for us and we will play out our hearts and try to achieve our target of booking berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics. We can still finish among top three.”

“We didn't get enough time to settle down according to the conditions. The ground is different and the boys arrived only five days prior to the start of the event, while other teams had 10 to 15 days to practice as they reached Belgium quite early,” he said and added: “I request entire nation to pray for national team’s victory not only against India but also in the remaining matches.”

“I just want to draw the attention of FIH towards rough and tough style of play of the Aussies. They are well known for their aggressive style and our three players got injured. The FIH must intervene and ensure Aussies must play according to the game’s spirit. It seems they are not playing hockey but rugby, as they get physically involved with the opponents, which could result in serious injuries. If they are not stopped and prevented from dangerous play, any untoward incident can occur,” Shahnaz concluded.