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Lagerbäck delighted with Iceland's all-round game

Published: Saturday 11 October 2014, 0.06CET
Lars Lagerbäck said Iceland "were definitely the best team" in their 3-0 win in Lavia, home coach Marians Pahars praising the early Group A leaders as "fantastic".
by Denis Novitsky
from Skonto Stadions
SSI Err
Published: Saturday 11 October 2014, 0.06CET

Lagerbäck delighted with Iceland's all-round game

Lars Lagerbäck said Iceland "were definitely the best team" in their 3-0 win in Lavia, home coach Marians Pahars praising the early Group A leaders as "fantastic".

Lars Lagerbäck says Iceland "were definitely the best team" in 3-0 win in Latvia
Iceland have two Group A victories but coach warns "nothing is decided yet"
Latvia boss Marians Paharspraises Iceland as "fantastic team"
Pahars admits hosts were forced to play more defensively than he likes
Next games: Latvia v Turkey, Iceland v Netherlands (Monday)

We knew this game would never be easy, and of course the first goal helped us a lot
Lars Lagerbäck
Probably the lads were scared a bit, and when we had an opportunity to make a counterattack we lacked the last pass
Marians Pahars

Lars Lagerbäck, Iceland coach
I can't name one single reason for our victory – there are always many factors. But we definitely were the best team tonight, controlling the match from start to finish. We knew this game would never be easy, and of course the first goal helped us a lot. And the red card made our lives much easier.

I do respect Latvia a lot, they're a good team, very strong from a physical point of view. And I can't say they played badly tonight. They were well organised – when Latvia lost the ball, they were quickly behind it. We created three half-chances before the break, but just couldn't score. Yet the team stayed patient, we tried to press their back line and eventually made their lives much harder.

We have won our two opening games now, but our group is still extremely strong. Talking about our chances for qualification, nothing is decided yet – there are eight games ahead of us.

Marians Pahars, Latvia coach
I think it was a very good game – until we were left with ten men. Iceland are a fantastic team, but it wasn't a surprise to me as we studied them before the game. But tonight we just couldn't cope with them. They were just better.

We knew Iceland would have possession and send in a lot of crosses from the flanks. When they realised it didn't work, they became nervous. But I don't want to look for excuses. We can play better but we need to work hard for that.

In the first half our plan didn't work at all. We lost a lot of balls, couldn't play at all on the counter, despite the fact we gave away the initiative on purpose. Because of injuries we had to change tactics, even so I didn't want to play with five defenders. But we had to do that. Probably the lads were scared a bit, and when we had an opportunity to make a counterattack we lacked the last pass.

Probably, we even played better with ten men. I can say that I'm happy with the team's defensive display. Just look at Atlético Madrid – they play from defence and look where they are. We just lack class and technique, and that's what we have to work on.

Last updated: 03/06/15 3.25CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/matches/round=2000446/match=2013849/postmatch/quotes/index.html#lagerback+shows+delight