Monday, June 17, 2024

– We dominated with the ball

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Ståle Solbakken saw both things he liked and hated during the international match against Denmark on Saturday. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB

Of NTB | 09.06.2024 11:43:05

Sport: – After the reduction goal, there was play in their half of the pitch, and we had opportunities. Then I was very satisfied, because these guys come from the beach. They have been there for ten, seven and five days the whole time, but they made two good performances during the meeting, and today against a good team, he said after the 1-3 loss.

He had a lot on his mind when he stood up for the media in the interview zone for almost 12 minutes. He needed only one introductory question to speak for three and a half minutes on many subjects.

Much of it was about the 0-1 goal, where left-back Marcus Holmgren Pedersen broke all principles in the way Norway defends itself.

– That goal will be included in all coaching courses in Norway on zone defense for the next ten years, to show how you as a back should not act. It just can’t happen at this level, it’s like giving away a goal, he said.

– Marcus became like a sweeper, and then they can cross the ball to where he should have been, and then it was a goal. I told Marcus, and he knows that himself, so I’m not hanging him out, but I said it’s completely unacceptable.

The national team manager knows why it turned out that way.

The 2-0 goal to Denmark, when Jannik Vestergaard was allowed to go up alone on a corner kick and nod into the goal, did not upset Solbakken as much.

– He is two meters long and took three steps, jumped up like Flo and headed down, he said.

– But after that, and maybe even before, we started to become the best team. We played around them and through them and we had chances. We dominated the last 15 minutes of the first half, and in the second half we were the better team. We dominated with the ball.

As the match changed character, it was natural to ask about the half-time talk.

– There were a lot of positives to take hold of, but I couldn’t hold on, so there was a lot of talk about the first goal, said Solbakken.

Egil “Drillo” Olsen said in TV 2’s broadcast that, in his opinion, it was a rather weak Danish team. Solbakken reacts to that.

– If we play a good match, it is a weak Danish team. In the first quarter, Denmark were good, and we were bad. When we are good, Denmark is bad, he said.

– I’m not buying it, me. That’s not how life works. Does Denmark become less good because we are good, or does it have nothing to do with what we do?

– We have completely dominated three games. Today was a more even match. Denmark were better than us in the first 20 minutes, but at least we were better than them in the whole 2nd half. We have great playing strength and will dominate many of the matches in the national league, but we have to weed out the big mistakes, says Solbakken.

While Denmark is a week away from its first EC match, the next task for Solbakken’s team is an away match against Kazakhstan in the national league on 6 September.

– He hasn’t played football for a long time, so he has a good excuse there. He only had 20 minutes for Sassuolo in recent months, but it was the Italian instinct that kicked in, there it is man-man.

– But it is important to see the whole. Everyone showed up. Many came from holiday, some straight from the beach, and we played two very well executed matches. We all know that we have to weed out mistakes, but we played away from home against a team that at its best can push all the big nations in the EC.

Norway has played four international matches so far this year, as a run-up to the autumn’s national league. Status is one win, one draw and two losses.

(© NTB)

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