Lars Lagerbäck praised the players’ willingness to play,but made it clear that it was the victory in Wednesday’s home game against Panama that he enjoyed the most.Norway – Panama 1-0
He has seen four tight victories this year, and the team are still unbeaten at Ullevaal with him as Norway’s national team manager. It’s a nice lead in to the autumn’s National League matches.
“Victory is always the most important thing and that is the one I’m most pleased with today, but I want to praise the effort and morale. That was what made the win. The game was not always that good. There was not enough variation, and we lost the ball too often, especially in our own half. We also lost many duels, but the effort was very good,’’ he said.
“We met a disciplined team back home, and it was not easy to create anything against them. The Panamanian players have good skills and can play football. We became a bit too individual in the defence game,but we kept them pretty well under control and did not let them go too many chances.
He would not single out any players.
“There was no one who especially excelled today, but everyone worked hard for the team.They showed a good attitude and took the match.That’s important,’’ he said.
Lagerbäck had to ask Joshua King and Bjørn Maars Johnsen to calm down the defensive efforts in the first half.
“They were too ambitious and worked hard defensively even when the team was not assembled behind them. I said they should not do it if they did not feel that the team was with them. They simply ran too much,’’ he said.
Lagerbäck has been in many finals, and was asked how he thinks the Norwegian national team could be in the World Cup.
‘’Oh, good questions. We have won three World Cup cleared teams. Australia had a new coach, but we were clearly better than them. In any case, against
Iceland and Panama, we have been better. I think we could handle it, if these three are anything to go by,’’ he answered.
“None of them are great favourites in the World Cup, but it’s hard to beat them.
Especially in the last two games we have met teams that have really wanted to win and who have given us a test.’’
Another Swedish coach, Sven-Göran Eriksson, was at Ullevaal on Wednesday.
He told Norwegian media that, “if Lars Lagerbäck can not take Norway to the Euro, nobody can.”
“Svennis is a friendly man, and if he got that question, he would answer it with something nice, but there is some degree of truth. What I am very pleased with is that we have achieved a very high lowest level. Everyone works hard and it is important. It’s the team effort we have to work on,” said Lagerbäck.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today