Unitt happy to face stifling tactics
Thursday, 26 November, 2009
Defender enjoys attacking backs-to-the-wall opposition
Glenn Lavery in Izmir
England had to rely on three late goals to see off a determined, if somewhat negative, Turkish outfit in their second World Cup Qualifier, but defender, Rachel Unitt, said she actually enjoys playing in games where the opposition try and make life difficult.
Unitt headed home Sue Smith’s corner in the 84th minute, her second goal in as many games after her effort against Malta last month, which secured all three points for Hope Powell’s side, but despite her satisfaction with her own performance, the 27-year-old knows England were far from at their best in Izmir.
“I enjoyed it today,” she admitted. “I felt tidy and that’s my game. I get the ball and keep it simple with some give-and-gos. I thought I had a decent performance.
“My passing was alright and I managed to get forward quite a lot and scored a goal, so I’m pretty happy. I felt more of a left winger than a left-back to be honest, but it was important we didn’t switch off at the back because they broke a few times.
“I enjoy playing in games like that though, where I can get forward and even score goals. I scored four in about 70 caps and now I’ve scored two in two, but as a defender it’s always just a bonus to score.
“First and foremost we got the three points and that was the main thing, but it was a poor team performance,” she conceded. “If we’d have been playing Spain we could have lost that game. In the first half, nothing was really happening for us and we couldn’t break them down. But in the second half we picked the tempo up, got in behind them and scored three late goals, so that was better.”
The 62nd-minute introduction of Karen Carney provided England with extra attacking impetus and despite appearing in her first international match since the European Championship, the Chicago Red Stars midfielder played a pivotal role in the opening goal, laying on the through ball which former Arsenal team-mate, Alex Scott, stabbed home from 12 yards. Unitt toasted Carney’s contribution.
“We changed our formation when Karen came on and I think that helped a lot because Turkey had kind of sussed us out a bit,” Unitt reflected.
“Karen, and Lianne [Sanderson], did very well when they came on. Lianne held the ball up well and Kaz [Karen] was running at full backs and getting crosses in the box, which we all know she can do, and that ultimately helped us win the game.
“We’ve got six points from two games now. It’s nice to get those points on the board before Christmas and we’ll be ready to go again next year.”