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Smuda: Pressure told on Poland

Franciszek Smuda admitted the pressure "paralysed" some of his young Poland players and allowed Fernando Santos' experienced Greece side to salvage a draw in the opening match.

Smuda: Pressure told on Poland
Smuda: Pressure told on Poland ©UEFA.com

Poland coach Franciszek Smuda admitted that the pressure got the better of his young team in the second half of their opening Group A draw with a more experienced Greece side. For Fernando Santos, meanwhile, there was satisfaction with his team's response to a poor start.

Franciszek Smuda, Poland coach
I congratulated all the players when they came off and told them to cheer up because it would have been much worse if we'd lost. A draw is not the end of it; this tournament is still open. We have two matches to go and should not dwell on this but just focus on the next one and winning it.

I can tell you we were very well prepared but we were under great pressure, great stress, and I think it was a big burden for this very young team who have not played in a big tournament before, unlike the Greeks who've taken part in World Cups and European Championships. At half-time, we said we wanted to keep going but we played too much sideways and backwards. The Greeks had nothing to lose. We could see some of the players were paralysed by the pressure.

During the training camp in Austria, we had a lot of sessions where we took penalties. Łukasz Fabiański, who's injured, is great at stopping penalties but Przemysław Tytoń has made some spectacular penalty saves at club level too.

Fernando Santos, Greece coach
I have to congratulate my players on a great effort, principally in the second half. If you leave aside the first 20 minutes, when we did all the things we were not supposed to do, I am satisfied, as after that all the players did a great job. We failed to control the rhythm of the game at first. We knew that Poland would start strongly and I had warned my players about that; we also knew what difficulties Poland could create, and we ended up conceding a goal from one of those moves, a quick counterattack which we knew would happen.

After the first 25 minutes we improved. The players started very well in the second half, [which was] completely different. They showed their character, they scored a goal, and we had another chance to score the second [with Giorgios Karagounis's penalty], which would have decided the match, I think. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score, but that's part of football. In the end both teams were tired but both tried to win, both tried to create chances, and we had the best of the second half.

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