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Luigend happy to shed opening night nerves

Published: Thursday 5 July 2012, 13.08CET
Prior to Friday's encounter against Greece, Estonia captain Karl-Eerik Luigend spoke to UEFA.com about how the hosts are responding to their opening loss to Portugal.
by Mikhail Malkin
from Tallinn
Luigend happy to shed opening night nerves
Estonia captain Karl-Eerik Luigend ©Sportsfile
Published: Thursday 5 July 2012, 13.08CET

Luigend happy to shed opening night nerves

Prior to Friday's encounter against Greece, Estonia captain Karl-Eerik Luigend spoke to UEFA.com about how the hosts are responding to their opening loss to Portugal.

After captaining the hosts in their debut appearance at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, midfielder Karl-Eerik Luigend says his only focus is on helping his side bounce back from that 3-0 Group A loss against Portugal.  

UEFA.com: Your team suffered conceded an early own-goal against Portugal. Were you feeling nervous before the encounter?

Karl-Eerik Luigend: No other Estonian youth team has played the final stages of a tournament like this. It was our first try. We felt a lot of tension. There were a lot more spectators in the stands than we usually have here at matches in the first or second divison. I believe we conceded the first goal just out of nervousness.

UEFA.com: What did you say to Artur Pikk who headed that own goal?

Luigend: We didn't blame him at all. We have a great atmosphere inside the team and we tried to support him. These things happen in football and we are not angry with him.

UEFA.com: Would it be too harsh to say that you were not prepared for that opening match?

Luigend: I think our coach Arno Pijpers did a very good job tactically and prepared us psychologically. It's clear that we didn't have the experience of performing at such a high level.

UEFA.com: What changed in the second half for you to improve so dramatically?

Luigend: I think the first two goals took the pressure off us and during the interval we received more instructions from our coach who explained how to play against Portugal. That's why we got better. The substitutions also had a positive influence. Portugal didn't create 100% of the chances. The first one we conceded was own goal while we were unlucky with the second. The third, meanwhile, came from a free-kick. In general, I think we played an OK match so there is no need to be depressed or to be too upset.

UEFA.com: Will what you learned against Portugal help in the next match against Greece?

Luigend: That's hard to predict but what I can say is that the guys are not so nervous anymore and we will try to play well from the very beginning. I'm hopeful we can do better. I haven't seen it yet but I heard they put in a fantastic performance after the break [when they lost their opening game to holders Spain]. I still hope that our team will be ready for this tough challenge and that we will be competitive.

UEFA.com: Are you going all out to score goals and to win your remaining games?

Luigend: This is how you win - you score goals. It would be perfect to surprise our fans, to score goals and to earn some points. We
don't need to focus on that too much, though. We want to play in a more relaxed way. I think each of us has his own small objective to achieve. I will not talk about my own personal targets, though. 

Last updated: 05/07/12 13.56CET

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