Indian football talisman Sunil Chhetri has admitted that winning the SAFF Cup 2015 despite some rough patches is indeed a happy moment for everyone. He also said the celebrations of India's win shouldn't go overboard.
It was Chhetri's crucial goal that guided India to their seventh SAFF Cup title; the Indian national team defeated Afghanistan 2-1 in the SAFF Cup 2015 final on 3 January, 2016, at the Trivandrum International Stadium in Kerala.
"We're really happy and satisfied [with the win]," Chhetri told IBTimes India during a media interaction in Bengaluru on Tuesday. "I don't think we had the greatest of starts to the tournament. We missed Sandesh Jhingan and Cavin Lobo [who were injured before the start of the SAFF Cup], and in two days, Anas Edathodika got injured. And then after the first game, Robin Singh was injured.
"So, there was a bit of negativity in our team, but thankfully, we won the SAFF together. I'm really happy."
The 31-year-old frontman, who is now gearing up for his third season with Bengaluru FC in the I-League 2015-16, added that some people have started to compare the SAFF Cup 2015 win to winning the World Cup, which is completely wrong.
"Now that we've won the SAFF Cup, people are saying we've won a tournament of the World Cup's magnitude. But that is not the way it is," Chhetri told reporters.
"We as a team look at the competititon as a match-by-match thing. Once we performed well in one match, we went on building in the next one. [There is] Nothing to be proud of, or nothing to be negative. It is just about taking every match as it comes, and what we can do together as a national team," Chhetri, who is India's leading goalscorer, added.
The skipper also had a word of praise for young Indian sensation Lallianzuala Chhangte, who became the third-youngest scorer in history of the national team. Jerry Zirsanga remains the youngest player till date, while Bhaichung Bhutia is in the second spot.
Lallianzuala came on as a substitute in India's match against Nepal in the SAFF Cup 2015, and scored a brace within a span of 10 minutes.
"He [Lallianzuala] is talented boy," Chhetri said. "He has a lot of ability and confidence in himself, and is a great prospect. I just hope he's not pressured too much.
"That's exactly what we do in our country. When someone gets results, people start celebrating, and in turn, increase the burden on the kid. I think we should give him time, because he's really talented and really positive. He likes to take on people [during the matches], I think if he keeps his head on his shoulders, he will go a long way," the 'captain marvel' added.