Lars Lagerback wants to see untested players
Posted: 25 May 2010 Time: 8:24 am
Lars Lagerback says Tuesday's friendly against Saudi Arabia, and the next one against Colombia on May 30 will give him a chance to see players who haven’t had much playing time.
But the Swede added that his objective would be to try out his basic ideas on the team in a competitive atmosphere. "You can say that I have two goals with them (the two friendly games)," he told Swedish newspaper Expressen. "I want to see some more of those players that I have not seen and I want to try some different things - but the important thing is to play the team together and get them to play what I want." This will be the Technical Adviser's first game in charge of the Eagles, and with time running short before the World Cup, he says he wants to get acquainted with as many players as possible. "Yes, there is a combination. If you take this first practice match, we have looked for a bit of playing time for the players. It's just as I have done previously with the Swedish team. If we had Swedish players who hadn't been playing that much then we prioritized them, and that will be a factor now as well. "But now it's also about to become acquainted with as many players as possible. We have quite a few offensive players in this group so maybe we can test them a little bit to see if they can cope with both the offensive and defensive." The Full interview: How has the training sessions been? The first training sessions we've had has been good. Good attitude, good will, good concentration. So I am pleased. After previously mostly been watching the players on video, how well would you say that you that you these days has learned which strengths and weaknesses there is in the squad? What you lose when you don't see them live very much is perhaps their whole image and their way of reading the game. But otherwise, I think that as football players, individually, you know them well already.
Then comes the next step and that is to see some more behind the football player - the character and how they react in slightly different situations. But after the two or three weeks to come, I think I will know them pretty well.
...About the two upcoming friendly games... You can say that I have two goals with them. I want to see some more of those players that I have not seen and I want to try some different things - but the important thing is to play the team together and get them to play what I want.
How will these friendly matches be different from friendly games when you have been coach for a while? Then maybe you try some new, younger players and new ways of playing. Now it´s more about playing the starting eleven together? Yes, there is a combination. If you take this first practice match, so we have looked a bit of playing time for the players. It's just as I have done previously with the Swedish team. If we had Swedish players who had'nt been playing that much then we prioritized them, and that will be a factor now as well.
But now it's also about to become acquainted with as many players as possible. We have quite a few offensive players in this group so maybe we can test them a little bit to see if they can cope with both the offensive and defensive.
To have trained a team like Sweden for a long time and had a clear playing philosophy for many years there - how does your thoughts on the game idea and tactics change when you get to a new environment like this? It's like I have said to the players now when we have talked about how we're going to play: The way of playing is always a combination between that you want a well organized way of playing and then, you must take into your account the player's individual skill.
There is always a degree of flexibility - even if you have the same combination of numbers you can change the game by putting players with different qualities in different positions.
Nigeria has in recent years most played 4-3-3. Is the 4-4-2 despite that the set-up we will see from you? These players come from 27 clubs in 12 countries so they are familiar with, and come from, different game styles.
I think most of them today, without beeing 100-percent sure, play with a centre forward. And then some different variations of that. But they are used to playing in both one and the other way.
But you are pretty sure about how you want to play? Yes, we have a basic idea. Then we will be working with the players and see how it works. But it would surprise me enormously if the basic ideas we have will not be the ones we will follow. Do you see this as a more skilfull national team than Sweden? It's so hard to compare. It is possible that this might be a little more ... there is definitely more offensive players who have qualities to choose from than defensive.
How do you think you should play to get the best out of this squad? It's a good question. This applies as always to find a good balance between defensive and offensive - and depending on how skilled they are individually so you can weigh over a bit more one way or the other.
And then put it in relation to the opponent as well. Now that we have three opponents who play in slightly different ways we will probably change a bit in the balance - between the offensive and defensive qualities - between the games we have in the group stage.
How ready are you feeling - after this short period - to lead this team in the World Cup? It feels good, exciting and fun in every way.
I have never ever been in a Champions League final but I do not think there can be anything greater than to be part of a World Cup.