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Fidler: Game plan key to England success

Lois Fidler was struck by England's fast start after they emerged from Group A courtesy of a 6-1 defeat of Portugal, whose coach Susana Cova looked at the bigger picture.

Fidler: Game plan key to England success
Fidler: Game plan key to England success ©UEFA.com

Lois Fidler, England manager 
I said at the start of the tournament that we're a side that generally tends to grow in this sort of environment. I'm really pleased with the way the girls stepped up to the challenge. There was pressure – we wanted to win. We weren't going for the draw although we were conscious that might be enough.

I'm really pleased that the players went out and delivered our strategy and what we asked them to do. To do it so emphatically against a side that are well organised and can cause you problems if you're not disciplined, is really pleasing. It was important that we took the game to the Portuguese and went at them, played our game and dictated the tempo, and tried to unpick them based on the quality the team possesses, especially from wide areas.

Anyone involved in tournament football knows that in order to be the best, and get this sort of experience at this level, you have to play against good teams and I wouldn't expect anything other than quality coming through from Group B with the teams that are involved there. Whether it had been Germany, Scotland, Spain or France, it would have been a tough test like the three previous games have been.

We'll start unpicking Spain and preparing the team and trying to come up with a game plan to put in another positive performance. I'm looking forward to it very much. The support has been absolutely first-class. I said in the first interview it's like having a 12th player. I want to encourage everybody to keep coming along and supporting the team, it means a lot to me and more to the players and it's great for the profile of women's football in England. We're loving it and long may it continue.

Susana Cova, Portugal coach
It was a very difficult match. England deserved to win but my players did what was asked of them individually. Of course this wasn't the result I expected. We made too many mistakes in defence and that had an effect on the rest of the team.

I don't think they were nervous – it certainly wasn't the main reason for the result. Only one player, who started today and only played a few minutes against Italy, showed some nerves. The main problem was the amount of space we gave them. We allowed England to settle into their game especially when playing with ten players. We should have been more compact and defended as a team.

We have enjoyed the experience immensely and know how important it will be for the players' growth. In the first two games, we had balance, but England showed more intensity and there was a big difference physically. The result reveals the fact that the women's league in Portugal is not very competitive. England showed their mettle, speed and strength.