Hope's honest assessment
Thursday, 26 November, 2009
The Women’s Head Coach knows her side didn’t play to their best despite win
Glenn Lavery in Izmir
Hope Powell expressed her dissatisfaction with England’s display in their 3-0 defeat of Turkey in Thursday’s World Cup Qualifier, but said she was pleased to be returning home with three points which keeps her side within striking distance of Group Five leaders, Spain.
The Three Lions took on a Turkey outfit who attempted to suffocate the game, only wanting to hit England on the counter-attack. This approach worked well enough for 75 minutes, but Aslan Hamdi’s side were then undone by three England goals in just eight minutes. Right-back, Alex Scott, grabbed the first after good work from substitute Karen Carney, then Sue Smith set-up Lianne Sanderson to fire home the second before her 84th-minute corner allowed Rachel Unitt to head home the third.
Turkey employed the same tactics against Spain on Saturday, only to succumb to five second-half goals, so it was a situation Powell was fully expecting.
“We knew it was always going to be tough,” she said after the game. “We knew Turkey were going to be physical and these sorts of games are difficult to play in, but the most important thing was the win.
“I’m pleased with the three points but I’m not enamoured, certainly with the first-half performance. It was not conducive to a side that have just got a silver medal at a European Championship, even though there were a lot of changes.
“We lacked quality. We had a few words at half-time and players have to take responsibility for their own performance. We weren’t good enough, certainly in the first half, but the second half we did better.”
As the England Head Coach alluded to, due to illness and injury, her starting eleven featured Karen Bardsley, Dani Buet and Jess Clarke, a trio who have just 17 caps between them, but Powell was happy with how some of the less capped players performed. She also admitted her desire to blood a few more young players, but said the nature of the match prevented her from doing so.
“These sorts of games provide experience,” she said. “It was a difficult game to play in and Jess and Dani played their part. At the time I made the substitution, I thought Dan started to get a little bit frustrated and looked a little bit tired, but it is all about experience. They both did OK though. I brought on a couple of players with a bit more experience because we needed the three points.
“I really wanted to get Dunia [Susi], Fern [Whelan] and Tash [Natasha Dowie] on today, but obviously it doesn’t always go according to plan. They’ve done really well this week, but when it comes to games that you need to win, sometimes that little bit more experience can carry you through, hence the changes.”
The changes that Powell refers to saw Carney and Sanderson enter the fray and both had a key part to play in breaking Turkey down. The result now leaves England on six points from two games, matching Spain’s 100 per cent start to the group, though England have two games in hand, and it is beginning to look like a two-way battle for Group Five supremacy.
“When the draw was made everyone sort of predicted that and at the moment it looks like it’s going that way,” Powell admitted. “But if we perform as we have been performing, certainly today in the first half, then we won’t be going anywhere.
“I can’t fault their work ethic, sometimes I think they just make the game difficult by the decisions they make. However, the changes helped and we end the day with three goals and three points.”