For five years in a row, the national football team have had more losses than victories. Lars Lagerbäck and his troop now say ‘’We have to start winning again’’.
“Winning matches is what gives players self-esteem. We would like to demonstrate good achievements, and develop the game, and Lars’ philosophy, but football is about winning. It’s that simple,” said national team captain, Stefan Johansen to NTB news.
In the 23 years from 1990 (the year when Egil Drillo Olsen became the country’s first manager) until 2012, there were only three times (2003, 2006, 2008) that Norway had more losses than victories for a national team. Now it has ended up that way for five season’s in a row.
“It is clear that we need to improve results. We must begin to perform to achieve results’’, said Lagerbäck, who in his first year as manager, ended with three victories, two draws and four losses. The chance to break the bad statistical record disappeared with two disappointing losses in November.
“It made me feel small, but also willing to show that we are better than that.’’
No matter who in the national team gets the question, “yes” is the answer about whether it’s important to win now, even though it’s half a year to the national league championships,and one year until the European qualification matches.
‘’Yes, it is. After many meetings and a lot of training we must begin to see progress, a stable Norwegian team that is solid defensively, and offensively is more creative than we have been. I really believe that we will get there,” said Rune A. Jarstein to NTB news.
“We have not won enough, and personally I feel I have not performed as well for the national as for the club team. That’s something I want to change. We have had Lars for a year, and it’s about building relationships. It is the challenge for a national team versus a club team,” said Johansen.
“But success breeds success?’’
‘’Yes, no doubt. It’s about creating a winning culture. We will be difficult to play against whether it’s away or at Ullevaal. We must be a difficult team to play against. This is a new season, and now we will set a line under last year.
Wait and see
These are Norway’s opponents this year, with the current FIFA ranking in brackets:
Australia (37), Albania (58), Iceland (18), Panama (53), Cyprus (92),Bulgaria (40), and Slovenia (62).
The six matches are in the new national league, where Norway is on level three. The rankings for the opponents in this year’s ten national matches are 55.4, while Norway is currently 57th.
Mats Møller Dæhli didn’t feel the need to elaborate when NTB asked him if it’s important to win already this spring.
‘’Do you believe the team will handle it?’’
‘’Yes, but we have said that before too. It doesn’t matter what I’m standing here saying. We just have to wait for the matches, then we’ll see.’’
On Friday, Australia faces Ullevaal, Monday will be Albania in Elbasan. A few victories would be an excellent first step on their way to putting the years with negative national statistics behind them.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today