Croatia opened its EURO 2020 campaign with a defeat on Sunday at Wembley, in front of 18,000 fans. England topped Zlatko Dalić’s side 1:0 with a goal by Raheem Sterling in the second half.
One day later, Dalić addressed the public from Rovinj, where the Croatia team returned this morning, reports Sportske Novosti.
Are changes being prepared for the next match against the Czech Republic? What is the atmosphere like? How much did the defeat leave a mark on the team?
“We’re not going to spoil the atmosphere much. We lost to one of the Euro favorites. We’ll be, I hope, in better shape. We weren’t good enough; not good enough to win. We thought we’d withstand the pressure and then get a draw. The match was actually like that except for that mistake where we were all half a step late and conceded a goal. We were not good enough for the victory, but not much worse than England. I am aware, and it is obvious to me that we are not good up top. We lack more action, more depth, and more entry into space. This is a problem that I am aware of, we have to solve it, and if we do not solve it – it will not be good. Tactically we played a very good game. We reduced England to two shots on goal.”
Has winning the silver in Russia disturbed Croatia’s perspective and current strength?
“We are not realistic. We look at everything differently than others. I can’t understand that a big problem could be created from this defeat. We were not bad. We, I repeat, miss that attacking game. Our reality is passing the group and then let’s do our best step by step in the knockout phase. I’ll consider it a success. We tried, but we weren’t good enough to beat England.”
Second place is better for Croatia?
“I’m just thinking about going through the group. And then, the knockout phase follows. We have to think about ourselves, fix the game forward. It won’t be easy against Scotland and the Czech Republic either. I’m an optimist, so I can’t be a pessimist after Belgium and England.”
There is a lot of talk about the role of Kramarić on the wing. How satisfied are you, and what did you get from that experiment?
“I would love to see a coach who will come to Wembley and not give the players a task in defense. Andrej had a task on the right to close Tripper in the defense, and in the attack, he had full freedom. He went inside and in that way to make it as easy as possible for him – to receive the ball from the side, which he was trying to do. It’s not easy against the best players. He played well for me.”
The Czech Republic is next.
“Now we have to go for the win. We have to be more offensive now, especially because we see that we are waiting in the attack, that there are few of us to finish, and that we have no entry into space and vertical balls. We’ll work on that. We have to get the most out of it; we need to win.”
How important are experienced players like Modric to continue?
“Luka is our engine that pulls all this. Experience is significant, especially in big competitions and tournament matches. Luka means a lot here.”
What is the situation with Borna Barišić’s injury?
“After arriving in Rovinj, he skipped two training sessions due to an injury he had in Scotland. Unfortunately, he is not in the condition he was with his club all year. We are waiting for the MRI results; the official result is at 5 pm. It’s a handicap and bad luck for us, especially because we play in Scotland, on his pitch.”
How satisfied are you with the camp in Rovinj?
“We are delighted with the conditions. With the hotel, the food, the field, but we don’t have our peace. For example, you wrote, ‘Dalic is preparing a surprise, and then on the front pages two days ago they published the lineup. So we don’t have that peace, and that’s the problem of that camp that we don’t have peace, that we can’t be closed. That’s certainly not good, but that’s not a reason now. I can’t change that and what it is, is there.”
There will be changes against the Czech Republic.
“Honestly, we are only starting to analyze them today and will watch the match. After that, we will be smarter. They have good individuals, have improved a lot, and have a young and strong team. We know we have to go for the win. Today Lovren had an MRI. We have to change both the system and the way and try to open the game differently. Be sure to be more offensive and look for more penetration. There will be a change.”
“I didn’t know the England lineup until the morning before the game.”
“We won’t win or lose a game if someone saw something in training. Every day there is speculation. This one plays, that one plays … People read what’s going on in training, then they comment, and it gets sucked into the players. Then there is controversy, that’s what’s not good and what we don’t need. Well, we don’t have to write everything right away; you won’t get a higher salary if you write that the marker got this or that. You’re there to comment on the training, to look at it, not to turn out like I’m preparing a surprise, and then who’s playing comes out on the cover. I didn’t know the lineup until the morning before the game, but they knew two days before. But you are doing your job, and I appreciate that” concluded Dalić.
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