Sarina Wiegman: ‘Sometimes it’s not beautiful’, but England beat Scotland in Nations League opener

22 September 2023 0 By Total Football News

Millie Bright and Rachel DalyMillie Bright (left) and Rachel Daly (right) both started and played the full match for England

England manager Sarina Wiegman said “sometimes it doesn’t look beautiful” after England did enough to beat Scotland and pick up their first points in the Women’s Nations League.

European champions England were playing on home soil for the first time since their World Cup final defeat by Spain.

Goals from Lucy Bronze and Lauren Hemp helped them to a 2-1 win, but they were tested by Pedro Martinez Losa’s side.

“Sometimes you just have to get through,” added Wiegman.

The Women’s Super League (WSL) season is yet to start and it is just over a month since England returned from Australia following their 1-0 defeat in the final by Spain.

A tight turnaround and numerous players still being in the midst of pre-season training will have impacted England’s fluidity, but Wiegman said they “don’t want to use that as an excuse”.

The hosts had started brightly at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, but a goal from Kirsty Hanson in first-half stoppage-time led to a nervy ending as England clung on to their lead.

Hanson later hit the crossbar and England goalkeeper Mary Earps was forced into several saves – though England did have a goal disallowed either side of the break.

“After the first half we said we needed to be a little better connected in the final third, then our decision-making needed to be better. But I’m not sure that was just about getting the connections right,” said Wiegman.

“Yes, it is a short turnaround, that’s what we know. We also know that even though sometimes it doesn’t look beautiful, you can still win the game.

“I’m very happy with three very important points. The Nations League started and you can see how competitive it is with the other results we have seen.

“Overall we kept the win and that’s the most important thing. It was off the back of a World Cup, a very short turnaround and the players haven’t played any competitive games yet – so I’m very happy.”

‘Really tough to recover from World Cup’

Jess Carter playing against ScotlandJess Carter played a key role in England’s defence at the World Cup

There were just three changes to the England side who started the World Cup final in Sydney on 20 August as midfielder Keira Walsh was ruled out through injury and striker Alessia Russo was rested.

Chelsea defender Jess Carter said it was “really tough” to reset having had little time off since their return from Australia.

“Scotland definitely proved to be a tough opponent today. Personally, I wasn’t so happy with the performance from myself. On the ball, I definitely could have been better at times,” added Carter.

“As a team we maybe got a bit sloppy and got a bit complacent, but obviously the three points were the most important thing and it’s something to build on.

“Everyone has come back at different stages from the World Cup. Obviously it’s [about] a bit of sharpness as well, but I think we can just do a lot better on the ball, regardless of where we are in the season.

“It’s definitely really tough to recover from a tournament like that – a tournament of that intensity – and to be ready to go again.

“The tournament was mentally and physically exhausting. It’s really tough to reset and get ready to go again in that time, and everyone is just doing the best they can to get back to a top level.”

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