After finishing at the bottom of the group with five successive defeats in Olympic men's hockey, Indian captain Bharat Chetri today conceded that the players lacked in mental strength and they need to go back to the basics.
"We have major problems, we have to go back to India and learn more hockey skills that will improve our finishing," Chetri said after India's 0-3 loss to Belgium in which the Indian strikers missed several open chances.
"We need more mental conditioning, the players did not appear to be mentally strong and that was a major setback in such a big tournament," he said.
India finished their pool matches without a single point. They will now meet South Africa for the play-off for the 11th and 12th positions.
It will be the country's lowest finish in the Olympics, even below their eighth rank at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Chetri said India's performance was going down with every match.
"We are going down in every match, repeatedly missing chances and not able to defend well," said Chetri, appearing upset at the post-match media conference which was not attended by chief coach Michael Nobbs.
Assistant coach Mohammed Riaz, who came to the media interaction in place of Nobbs, said the team was feeling very low after the successive losses.
"The team's morale was totally down after losing consistently," said Riaz, a hockey Olympian himself.
"We missed three open chances in the first half itself. That put pressure on our own defence," Riaz said. "At this level, if you miss chances and concede goals it becomes difficult to come back into the game."
This was the first time Belgium had beaten India in the Olympic Games in four encounters. In 51 head-to-head internationals between these two teams, this is Belgium's sixth victory and the second in successive encounters.
The last time these two teams came face to face was in the final of the Champions Challenge in Johannesburg last year, when Belgium had defeated India.