Sampson 'delighted' after six days and one draw for England

Saturday 18 Jan 2014
England Women's Head Coach Mark Sampson

Mark Sampson said he was “delighted” after residing over his first game as the England Women’s Head Coach.

Eniola Aluko gave the Three Lions an early lead against Norway in La Manga, but Melissa Bjaneso’s 87th-minute header earned the Euro 2013 runners-up a share of the spoils.

England created a number of good opportunities and could have won the game, but Sampson was nevertheless more than happy with his new team.

England Women

Sampson says he has enjoyed the week with his squad.


He said: “In terms of the football, [I am] really pleased.

“There are lots of positives we can take from that game going forward.

“We asked the girls to play a slightly different way and they really embraced the concepts and gave it a right good go.
“I thought we were really brave with the ball. We showed lots of courage to get on it and try and control the ball.

“Some of our possession and passing were excellent throughout the pitch.

“Defensively, I thought we stood up to a team who put us under a lot of pressure with aerial balls and we pressed them with a lot of intensity.”

Sampson continued: “We’d have liked to have won. You could see it was a proper game out there. Norway wanted to win and we wanted to win so we’re disappointed to concede the goal.

“But in terms of the performance, I’m delighted there are so many positives we can take into the Cyprus Cup.”

This was the 31-year-old’s first meeting with his new squad since his appointment in December.

The January training camp in southern Spain has become an established part of England’s calendar and Sampson was keen to round the week off with a game against strong opposition.

Watch highlights of Friday's game in La Manga.


He has spent six days getting to know his players and is now looking forward to the Cyprus Cup in March, a friendly tournament England won last year.

He added: “I’ve really enjoyed it.

“The players have worked really hard. I asked them at the start of the week to put a shift in, but to do it with a smile on their face and I think they’ve done that.

“There’s a real togetherness already. We’ve started to work on things and there’s a lot of good things we can build on from this week.

“I’m delighted because I wanted something to attach ourselves to as soon as we could and let’s make it even better the next time we get together.”

By Glenn Lavery La Manga, Spain