Russia matchwinner Aleksey Miranchuk played down concerns over missed chances after leading his country to a crucial 1-0 win over Finland.
The 25-year-old netted the only goal of the game as Stanislav Cherchesov’s side grabbed their first win of Euro 2020 to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.
However, the Russians would have been avoided a nervous finish to the game had they done better with the 14 shots they racked up to their opponents’ 11.
Not that Miranchuk was concerned, though, the forward insisting that getting three points on the board was all that mattered after defeat to Belgium in the opening group game.
He told Match TV: “At this stage, the victory was most important. We have completed the task and are moving on.
“Have we missed a lot of chances? That’s football. It is important that we are creating chances.”
Miranchuk’s strike, which came in first-half injury time, was the result of intricate build-up play with target man Artem Dzyuba inside the box.
Asking about playing alongside such an experienced striker and the dangerous Aleksandr Golovin, he added: “There are requirements, there are tactics.
“Football intelligence allows you to understand each other and feel each other. We always try to progress.”
Russia manager Cherchesov was unsurprisingly full of praise for Miranchuk after the match, sharing his belief that the forward is benefiting from a move to Serie A with Atalanta last August.
He said: “I supported Miranchuk’s decision to move to Europe, to get out of his comfort zone and play in one of the world’s best leagues.
“I’m happy with how he is making progress and I hope he’ll start getting more game time at Atalanta next season. It will be good for both us and the player.”
As for Finland coach Markku Kanerva, he was philosophical about a defeat that followed a shock 1-0 win over Denmark in his side’s opening Group B game.
He said: “We defended well and going forward we improved on our display against Denmark.
“We didn’t manage to score but we had good situations: some shots that went narrowly wide, others were blocked. It was a really close game.”
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