Sunday 17 December 2017

Polish boss expects big Scots fight

Poland manager Adam Nawalka
Poland manager Adam Nawalka

Poland manager Adam Nawalka is prepared for a Hampden battle - but he also warned his side to expect an "advanced European game" from Scotland.

The build-up to tonight's European Championship qualifier has been dominated by Robert Lewandowski's goalscoring form and his complaints over a challenge by Gordon Greer in last year's 2-2 draw in Warsaw.

Lewandowski called for protection at Hampden after being hurt in what he described as a "brutal" tackle by the Brighton man, who caught him high with his studs as he went to block a shot, just as the whistle blew for a previous infringement.

A Polish journalist asked about the controversy while waving a Daily Record back page which depicted Lewandoski as a baby.

"Of course we need to be prepared for a good fight and for aggressive play," said Nawalka, whose side could secure automatic qualification at Hampden.

"In the final stages of the qualifiers we need to be prepared for this but also we hope that skills will be more important. We also hope we will be in control of the game and play the ball as we get it."

Nawalka side-stepped another question about Scotland boss Gordon Strachan's comments earlier when he stressed that Poland had committed 30 more fouls than his side during their eight qualifiers.

"We are certainly anticipating a very difficult game with a lot of energy and fight," he said after smiling.

"We have our game plan, we feel we have prepared well mentally and tactically."

Nawalka stressed that he respected the creative attributes of Scotland, who also won in Warsaw last year, during a friendly.

"Scotland do very well as a team," he said. "They play collectively and are disciplined and also creative.

"They don't play in a traditional, physical British way. They don't play long balls, they can be very constructive in attack.

"They have a very advanced European game and when you look at it from a global perspective, you can see it's a very difficult opponent. We need to respect them and we do."

Lewandowski remained the focus of Poland's pre-match media conference following his recent run of 12 goals in four matches for Bayern Munich, but Nawalka feels the rest of his team should not be overlooked.


"Lewandowski is the best centre-forward in the world for me, of course," he said. "He is number one. He's the best striker in the world.

"Of course Robert is a very important player in our team. He's the key player and has a lot of different strengths. He has leadership qualities and gives a lot of energy to other players.

"However a lot of our team members do their job and do the best they can and they are very important. You can see the atmosphere in the team is very good.

"They keep improving and that's the foundation for the future of our team."

Meanwhile, Scotland skipper Scott Brown insists his side are in fine fettle ahead of tonight's game.

He said: "Everyone is on form, our strikers are scoring goals, our defenders are defending well and midfielders are playing well too.

"That is what you need going into these games.

"You have to have a lot of confidence and players in each position playing really well and we have got that throughout the squad.

"We have two huge games to put it right, hopefully, and everyone in the changing room is looking forward to the game."


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