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Sunil is loving Lisbon

New Delhi: India captain Sunil Chetri on Saturday described his brief experience with Sporting Lisbon as a “unique” one.

“Though I have been with the Sporting Lisbon B side only for the last 28 days, my experience is unique,” Chetri said after the national team’s practice session on Saturday. “The whole coaching staff is kind and honest… They have told me where I stand.

However, he admitted that the onus is now on him to improve his game. “They believe in me, in my talent. What I have to do now is to improve. There are players from all over Europe in the squad and also from Africa... I am the eldest player. Other players are younger, but very professional. They keep me on my toes,” he said.

The Lisbon B side, Chetri said, would play 42 matches as there are 21 teams in the second division. Chetri, however, would miss three to four matches because of his commitment for the Nehru Cup.

The striker hoped India would be able to retain the Nehru Cup that they won in 2007 and 2009. “There are good teams like Cameroon and Syria, but we are capable of winning,’ he added.

In a warm-up game leading to the Nehru Cup, India drew 0-0 with Pailan Arrows at the Jaypee Greens in Gurgaon. Chetri failed to score from a spot-kick.

Chetri, whose shot hit the post said that mood in the camp was “perfect.”

“We are really working hard to do what the coach wants us to do. It is a new system and it will take time. But we are moving in the right direction.”