‘Must do better.’
England collected back to back wins in Holland but the form report of National Coach Hope Powell nevertheless reads: ‘Must do better.’
A 2-1 victory in Heerhugowaard followed by a 1-0 success in Tuitjenhorn meant that England had won two successive matches on foreign soil for the first time in two and a half years.
But with the 2005 UEFA Women’s European Championship finals fast approaching, Powell wants to see performances to match results during her team’s programme of friendly fixtures ahead of the tournament.
"There’s still a lot of work to be done," said Powell as she put the two victories in the context of the build-up to Euro 2005, which is set to be played in England next June.
"I’d have to be happy," admitted the National Coach, "if we were at the Championships and had six points from our first two games without playing well.
"But if we play as we did in Holland when we are up against the very best teams in Europe during the tournament, I don’t see that we’ll be in that position.
"The fact that we won both of the games against Holland is a bonus, but apart from doing well in patches during the second half of each game the performances simply weren’t good enough."
Powell concedes that once again being without three key players - America based striker Kelly Smith, central defender and captain Faye White plus goalkeeper Rachel Brown - did not help matters in the Netherlands.
She is hopeful that all three will be available by mid-November, when England are again scheduled to play two games, but she in any case takes a pragmatic approach to player-unavailability.
"Injuries must be accepted part and parcel of the game," she said, "but obviously you miss key players. Kelly in particular adds confidence to the whole team - when she plays we play better.
"But with some of our big players out of action, this last week has been an opportunity to bring in some younger and less experienced players and that has been very useful.
"Having two games allows you more time to work on things, to discuss things with the players and coaching staff and to give the youngsters international experience that could prove invaluable to them.
"So there have been pluses from the week, but I’m never totally satisfied. My standards are high and always have been - and if we’re going to do well at Euro 2005, the players have to reach those standards."