Lars Lagerbäck was relieved to see Iceland "break the losing cycle" after a 2-0 victory against the Faroe Islands helped his side secure a first win in five games under their new Swedish coach.
Since Lagerbäck's appointment at the end of last year, Iceland have stretched themselves, coming away with creditable 3-2 friendly defeats by France and Sweden in the run-up to UEFA EURO 2012. However, they were spared a fifth successive loss on Wednesday as AFC Ajax forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson struck twice against the Faroe Islands in Reykjavik.
"We have played away games against good teams and that is probably the best in preparation terms, but since we can play so many friendlies I think it was better to play against a lower-ranked team, because it is important we break the losing cycle," Lagerbäck explained. "It was very important to get the winning mentality back."
A good crowd turned out at the Laugardalsvöllur Stadium to watch the match, and Lagerbäck was happy enough with the outcome. "You never know what to expect in a game, but the most important thing is that we had a good attitude and won the game cleanly without giving the Faroes many chances, even though we did not play as well as I hoped," he said.
Eidur Gudjohnsen came on for 20 minutes but the coach wishes to see more from newly signed Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson when Iceland kick off their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Norway on 7 September. "We know Gudjohnsen is fantastic player," said the 64-year-old. "Sigurdsson has an important role but did not come into the game much and we have to get him more involved when we play Norway.
"Sigthórsson has fantastic skills when he gets into the penalty box even though he is out of the game for some periods," added Lagerbäck, who coached Sweden – for a while in tandem with Tommy Söderberg – from 2000 to 2009. "I wanted to see Eidur Gudjohnsen and Grétar Steinsson for 20 minutes because they did very well in training and looked very fit. I wanted to see how they will stand if they find clubs quickly.
"It was great to have so many spectators, who created a good atmosphere and gave us a lift, but hopefully we will do better when we play against Norway. The players are positive and have been working hard, so Norway will have to play really well to beat us."
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