Relaxed, happy and full of confidence, Thomas Frank's belief in his Denmark side was greater than ever the day after an opening 3-2 win against Serbia.
Pitted against the hosts, holders England and widely-tipped France, Frank has nevertheless been continually buoyant about his charges' chances of progressing from Group A of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship. Tuesday's victory appeared to validate such faith and even with England next up on Friday, self doubt is off the agenda.
"We have a fantastic year group," Frank told UEFA.com. "I said in the opening press conference that we could surprise – we haven't surprised yet. The biggest surprise will be when we get to the semi-finals, and we will. This team has very high potential. We worked very hard to get to the finals and put pressure on ourselves in qualifying. Now we can play freely as underdogs – we can go out and enjoy.
"Happiness and joy is the main part of our philosophy – you have to smile, be happy and show how much you love football. It is one of five values we have in this team. We also have to have desire, respect, responsibility, and we must stick together. Outside of the pitch you have to be a 24-hour pro – enjoy it, but eat, rest, drink water, respect, be a team. If we have joy and happiness, we have the skills to do well."
Frank's buoyancy has eminently filtered down to his players. "I like it when they have this strong belief in themselves," he added. "Of course it's easy when you have good players, but you have to build their confidence. When you have that, you build 10% and that can make the difference.
"When we set our goals before, the players said they thought we'd get seven points: three against Serbia, one against England and three against France. I like that answer! We know we shouldn't beat teams who are better than us but you need to believe."
With his players' development always at the forefront of his mind, Frank is all too aware that winning – despite their confidence and desire to do so – is not the be all and end all. Indeed, Tuesday's fixture was a first in front of the television cameras for many of the squad – another important marker on their learning curve.
"We talked a lot about this to try and prepare them for it," added their coach. "
I talked to the guys afterwards and they said they didn't expect the camera in their face during the national anthem! Two, three, four of them have played in the top Danish league and one of them [winning goalscorer Viktor Fischer] is playing for Ajax now. It's a fantastic experience to cope with that."
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