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We need to wise up, says Russia´s Hiddink

SoccerNews in European Championships 11 Jun 2008

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Russia coach Guus Hiddink said his team needs to become more street wise if they are to progress out of the Euro 2008 Group D following their opening 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Spain.

Russia had plenty of the ball and created several good chances, hitting the post in the first half, but they were ripped to shreds on the counter-attack by a bristling Spain.

And Hiddink complained that his team had been naive rather than been out-played by a team many feel could finally end their 44 year wait for a major international title.

Hiddink wasn’t too interested in praising Spain, though.

“We will see how Spain react when they get more opposition against a team who knows the laws of tough international competition,” he said.

“They will have to show themselves but we helped them too much. But really you didn’t see Spain, you have to judge them in tough game.

“When we made a mistake, they knew how to punish us.”

Hiddink seemed offended that his team had been hit repeatedly on the counter-attack but he grudgingly accepted that the tactic had paid off.

“At the end the winner is right, how they do it they won’t care,” he added.

“When you look at how much of the possession we had, it doesn’t matter. The only thing is we like to play this creative way but we have to add knowledge of the laws of international football.”

Hiddink insisted it wasn’t just his defence that needed to improve but that the whole team needs to take responsibility for keeping the ball out of their net.

“If you concede three or four goals you can’t just blame the defence,” he said.

“If you look at the second and fourth goals, they’re on a level that a school team doesn’t make those errors.

“It’s not just a matter of defence, it’s a matter of the whole team and knowing when the fire starts and knowing how to be a fireman.

“To be honest, I was rather angry at half-time because of this naive behaviour but at the end in changing room I said ‘this is a tournament of three games’ so I hope the team can and will react as soon as possible.

“They have to learn within hours not to be naive. The way the team plays is encouraging, if we can learn to be more street wise and learn fast we will have a chance in our other games.”

The Dutchman, who formerly coached South Korea and Australia, criticised his strikers’ work-rate.

“Other teams, when they don’t have the ball their strikers work like hell. Our strikers have to learn to work for the ball, they have to go to a modern style,” he said before admitting it would be difficult to turn things around before their next match against Greece on Saturday.

“It’s difficult to mature in three days but I’m still hopeful that we learn very fast,” he added.

“When we analyse these errors with the team, I hope we are dealing with intelligent players that will learn.

“Thats why it’s so important to be here after a difficult qualifying with a bit of luck.

“We have to learn but I would have been bitter if I was watching this on television at home.”

Hiddink said his team were at a disadvantage as most of them play in Russia rather than in the major European leagues of Spain, England and Italy.

“We don’t have to change drastically but with this experience we hope to catch up the other teams whose players are playing in tough leagues all over the world,” he said.

“We’re playing with players who don’t have to go every week in high pressure games and don’t get punished every time they make a mistake, that’s why it’s important to be here.”

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