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Mankowski delighted with perfect start

Published: Wednesday 4 July 2012, 0.19CET
Pierre Mankowski cut a happy figure after 2010 champions France opened their UEFA European Under-19 Championship account with a win against Serbia.
by Ben Gladwell and Elvir Islamović
from Tallinn
Mankowski delighted with perfect start
France coach Pierre Mankowski was thrilled with his team's 3-0 win against Serbia ©Sportsfile
Published: Wednesday 4 July 2012, 0.19CET

Mankowski delighted with perfect start

Pierre Mankowski cut a happy figure after 2010 champions France opened their UEFA European Under-19 Championship account with a win against Serbia.

Having witnessed his team take an early lead in Group B with victory against Serbia, France coach Pierre Mankowski said his team reaped rewards for takng the game to their opponents. Zoran Marić, on the other hand, admitted Serbia were second best on the day. England and Croatia played out a 1-1 draw in the group's other game with both coaches saying their sides could have done better.

Pierre Mankowski, France coach

This is a good start for us. It is true that the first game is always very important so winning it is a good thing. With the way we have played, there were a lot of positives to take out of this game. It is maybe easier to save your energy a bit when you have possession, and it is also good for morale, but what was interesting was that I was able to make three changes and let a few players have a rest while giving others some match practice. We knew that Serbia liked to play from deep and from a very compact back line so we had to try and impose our game on them and, by pushing them back so far, it forced them to try and play the ball long and that enabled us to get back into possession quickly and create openings.

Zoran Marić, Serbia coach
The only positive thing we can take from this game is that now we know how not to play. We cannot go onto the pitch that way in the future. There is no doubt that we were beaten by a stronger opponent today. We were just below par. We had an awful first half. We were unable to rise to the occasion and did not do ourselves justice. We had too much fear and the reason we played so badly was because of that. Then, in the second half, we started to play more solidly and were better and, even with ten men, we were equal to our opponents. The general impression nevertheless was that France were better.

Noel Blake, England coach
We came from behind, so I need to be satisfied. Croatia played better in the first half but in the second I think there was only one team on the pitch. We were dominating, we scored a goal, hit the bar and the Croatian goalkeeper made a few good saves. In fact, both goalkeepers did well today. We are playing a good passing game at the moment. We are getting stronger and stronger and I can be happy. 

Dinko Jeličić, Croatia coach
I need to congratulate my players for their display. It's a pity that we didn't score from our chances in the first half. We needed to do better in terms of those goalscoring situations; who knows what would have happened had we done so. We played excellently in the first first half; we were dominating and kept England down. I knew we had the quality to do that. If we didn't concede so quickly after scoring it would have made things easier for us. After the break my players felt down physically as some of them only recently ended the season and that showed in our play. England were better in the second half and if we judge the game on that, a 1-1 draw was a fair result, but I am still sorry we didn't win.

Last updated: 07/07/12 12.32CET

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