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Czech defence delights Bílek

Czech Republic coach Michal Bílek praised his team's defending in their 2-1 victory against Greece while Fernando Santos was left to rue Greece's slowness out of the blocks in Wroclaw.

Czech defence delights Bílek
Czech defence delights Bílek ©UEFA.com

Czech Republic coach Michal Bílek saw his team score two goals more quickly than any other nation in EURO history, but it was their defending which most pleased him in the 2-1 defeat of Greece. His opposite number, Fernando Santos, lamented the fact his team once more made a sluggish start, and then "used our hearts more than our minds".

Fernando Santos, Greece coach
The game started very badly for us. We were trailing very early on, and we knew this might happen. Given that they had seen our first game, we knew they would come out strongly and try to dominate. Although we'd been warned and we knew they'd pressure us, we failed to respond. We had a defence which had conceded four goals in ten official games, and within two games here, we've conceded three goals.

Unfortunately, these first few minutes of the first half were really costly. Against Poland we had managed to equalise, but it was very difficult to come back this time. We weren't on the pitch in the first ten, 15 minutes. We did everything to try and score the equaliser, but couldn't. Now we have to turn our eyes to the next match. We have only a slight chance, but there is still hope.

We mustn't forget that this was the same team with only [Giorgos] Fotakis added in midfield. This is the XI that played really well in the second half against Poland and managed to equalise, and that's why I thought this was the best lineup for this match. At half-time, I told them to clear their minds. Everything that happened in the first half was a burden; so we tried to have the most rational plan for the second half to turn the game around because we believed we could. In such cases, when you're in a very difficult position, you have to display heart, a clear mind and cold-bloodedness to dominate your opponents and show your qualities. We used our hearts more than our minds in the final 15 minutes and this didn't pay off.

Michal Bílek, Czech Republic coach
It was a great start. We started well against Russia too, but we were lucky enough to score twice today. The first half was great, the combinations were great, we were dangerous. The second half was complicated as Tomáš Rosický couldn't play on and it took us some time to get back in the game. We conceded a really bad goal, which gave Greece hope. It was a mistake. Petr Čech didn't communicate with Tomáš Sivok and it was an unnecessary goal to concede.

We all know that in the first match we had problems retaining possession, and that the defence was too open. That's why we wanted to be tighter at the back by bringing in Tomáš Hübschman, and why Petr Jiráček had to play in an unusual position for him on the right. But he played excellently. He got into the game, he's a great footballer. But I have to praise my whole team. They performed very well, and there's not one player I'm dissatisfied with.

There were lots of situations in front of our goal in the second half. Our opponents were trying to score, but we didn't give them any chances. We defended really well, and we're happy to still have a chance of going through. We knew it would be the end of our EURO if we'd have lost. You can start the [final group-stage] match thinking that a point is enough, but it's never good to play with this attitude. We have to fight in the last match and get the points out of it. We won't start thinking a point will be enough.