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Winning Group A coaches demand more

Despite seeing their teams win on the opening day of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, Spain's Julen Lopetegui and Portugal's Edgar Borges both want improvements.

Julen Lopetegui encourages his side during the victory against Greece
Julen Lopetegui encourages his side during the victory against Greece ©Sportsfile

Spain began the defence of their title with a narrow win against Greece in an encounter that coach Julen Lopetegui told UEFA.com changed dramatically after the break. His Greek counterpart Kostas Tsanas, meanwhile, said the 2007 finalists paid for not taking their chances. In the group's other game, Estonia fell to Portugal whose coach still demanded an improvement from his players, while Arno Pijpers said his side would learn from the experience.

Julen Lopetegui, Spain coach

We have won three important points against a fantastic rival so we leave here happy. We knew how difficult it was going to be. Greece went into this game on the back of many victories. They have been scoring goals and feature players who play in the Greek top flight. I think we played a great first half but the second belonged to them. They opened us up a lot and are a physical side.

On the other hand, my team showed character and personality to stand up to the challenge. You learn so much with each game. We are expecting a tough challenge in our next match against Portugal who are another strong opponent. We will work hard now so that the guys recover for that match.

Kostas Tsanas, Greece coach
In the first half we were very bad and Spain took advantage of that and scored twice. We committed many unforced errors. Despite underperforming before the interval, we had two good chances to score but failed to convert them. Had we scored in the first half, it would have been a completely different story. In the second half, we improved a lot.

We pressured our opponents, created chances to score and came close to equalising. I believe that, given our second-half performance, a draw would have been a fair result. I would like to congratulate my players for their massive effort after the break. We will leave this game behind us and concentrate on the encounter against Estonia. In the meantime, we will work on our mistakes and see to it that, from now on, we play like we did in the second half today.

Edgar Borges, Portugal coach
What can I say? Only that we are very happy with the win but I am not totally satisfied with our display. We can do much better. I am a little disappointed. We didn't really play as we know we can and in that I am referring to beautiful football. I would like to congratulate Estonia's coach. His was a job well done; they were good and presented us with a lot of difficulties. I wish the hosts good luck and thank them for their wonderful hospitality. As I said before, every match here is going to be like a final and we are now waiting for our next one against Spain.

Arno Pijpers, Estonia coach
Congratulations to Portugal. I think it was a clear win for them; they have a very good team. We knew they would be difficult opponents but when we started as nervously as we did it made things all the harder. That is also a question of experience or lack thereof. My players do need to be complimented, though, as they stuck to their style and created some good chances in the second half.

It was important that we kept our team discipline. I told them afterwards that they needed to learn from this. If and when some of them go on to debut for the senior team they will have learned from this night and won't be as nervous.