Dick Advocaat has warned Russia that their opening victory against Czech Republic on Friday will mean little if they fail to follow it up with another good performance – and another win – against Poland.
Advocaat’s side produced a fine attacking display to brush the Czechs aside on the opening day of Euro 2012, and the coach urged his players to do it again against the co-hosts in Warsaw.
“It was just one game that we won - and the tournament has barely started,” he said. “It was important to win the first game, but that game is gone and we have to play well today.
“We will see how the next two games go. We want to play attacking football... against the Czechs, it went really well sometimes and then sometimes it didn’t work.”
He said both sides would go for the victory – Poland are two points behind Russia after a 1-1 draw against Greece – explaining that he did not think a draw would be “good enough” for the Russians.
Franciszek Smuda’s Poland seemed hindered by the weight of expectation during the second half of their opening game, with Smuda admitting some players had been “paralysed by the pressure.”
But the coach said that pressure should now be a thing of the past, adding: “The psychological burden on the players from before the tournament has gone, and in the next match we will not be under the same kind of pressure.
“Of course, I lived with that pressure too... I felt the 30, 40 million people on my back. It is not easy, but I have felt the warmth of those supporters, at the match and at our training sessions.”
Smuda played down the rivalry between his country and Russia, saying the only thing on his mind was to continue a run that has seen Poland undefeated by the Russians since 1996.
He said: “I had never considered this game to be a special one, other than the fact it is a great fixture and it might be a great spectacle for the fans.”
Poland will be without keeper Wojciech Szczesny, suspended for one game after his sending off against Greece – but substitute Przemyslaw Tyton came on to save the penalty conceded by Szczesny.
Advocaat said he believed the absence of the Arsenal keeper would not be a problem for the Poles, explaining: “Tyton did a really good job by saving that penalty, so he has already shown his worth.”© ESPN