Hodgson: 'We must be clinical'
Thursday, 14 June, 2012
England Manager is looking for his team to maximise their chances in front of goal.
Roy Hodgson wants his England players to be more clinical in attack when they face Sweden in tomorrow's Euro 2012 Group D clash in Kiev.
The Three Lions England earned plenty of praise for the defensive qualities shown during Monday's opening 1-1 draw with France in Donetsk, but didn't make the most of some of the chances they had that might have earned them all three points.
Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott got his first international goal header from a set-piece put them in front on the half-hour, only for club-mate Samir Nasri to respond nine minutes later.
"I was happy with the start.," Hodgson told the press in the official pre-match press conference at Kiev's Olympic Stadium. "We played quite well, certain aspects of our game were good. We must maintain that and, if we are going to win matches, we've got to continue to work hard on the attacking side of the game.
"We have to try to make certain when we do get these good counter-attacking opportunities that we maximise them and take advantage to the full. When we win the ball back and break out, we've got to make certain the last pass, cross or actual finish is very clinical.
"It is hard to get good goal chances at this level of football. You are not going to get many during the course of a game and you have to be very effective when the chances come your way.
"I am not talking about the clear-cut one versus ones with the keeper but the situations where you've got behind the defence and it's a question of making sure the last pass gives someone the chance to score a goal. "That is something we've been working on consistently."
Hodgson, who spent his first four years as a coach at Swedish outfit Halmstad in the late '70s, is relishing another opportunity to lock horns with the Swedes and knows a lot about England's opponents. He also is wary of of the aerial threat they could pose from set-pieces.
"I've faced Sweden many times, three with Switzerland and once with Finland, and I've managed to achieve two victories and two draws.But this is the most important occasion for me."
He added: "We all agree in today's football set-pieces are very important and it is rare not to have respect or concern over the quality of the opponents set-plays.
"I'm also fortunate we have some good set-play specialists of our own and we scored against France not least thanks to Steven Gerrard's wonderful delivery from a free-kick.
"All you can do is prepare in the best possible way and make it clear to your team what threat the opponents pose. France posed a lot of threats from their set-plays and Sweden will be the same."