Lovrencsics: We learnt from our mistakes and the coach prepared us well
The Hungarian national team defeated Finland 2-0 in their final match in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday evening, in doing so recording their third victory out of three at home in the competition and ensuring that they finish Division C Group 2 in second place.
Hoffenheim striker Ádám Szalai scored Hungary’s opener after being set-up by an industrious Zsolt Kalmár.
“We used a different formation, and we’re delighted with the victory. It’s not easy to switch to 3-5-2, which I believe is one of the most difficult to use but aside from a couple of mistakes we were fairly comfortable” Szalai said, before adding that: “Zsolt has come on leaps and bounds in the recent national team matches. We’re still helping him through but his performances have been great. He has talent and is excellent in an attacking sense. If he can add a little more to his defensive game he will be an outstanding midfielder”. With Finland losing to Greece and then Greece losing to Estonia, Hungary fell short of the Finns by two points, largely down to only picking up one point on their travels. “There’s no point bemoaning the fact. The change of head coach didn’t come at an ideal time; we only had a few days to prepare together before our match in Finland”.
Zsolt Kalmár talked about tactical discipline being key: “We played a good tactical game and pressed well, winning a lot of balls. Football today is all about pressing aggressively but there are of course opponents against whom this doesn’t work. We didn’t talk after the match about coming second. It’s annoying that we lost two points in Estonia, since otherwise we’d have been playing for first place. The Finland away game was our first with Marco Rossi, with a new team, new players; the draw in Tallinn was more painful than the defeat in Tampere”. Kalmár worked with Rossi last season at DAC and was quick to praise the new national team head coach: “He gives his players great confidence. If he believes in you, he gives you an opportunity to show what you are capable of, which means that young players get a chance in the national team. I’ve learnt a lot from him; he knows me well and trusts me and I’d like to thank him by way of my performances”.
Filip Holender made his national team debut, coming on for Mihály Korhut after 54 minutes against Finland. ”I’ve played a left wing-back on numerous occasions so it was nothing new for me. I was a little nervous, but I think that’s only natural. I had a chance to score, and it’s annoying as it would have been great to top off my debut with a goal. It’s a great group of lads, and I’ve quickly been made welcome by them”.
Gergő Lovrencsics was another player happy with his performance. “We learned from our mistakes in the first game against Finland and the coach felt a different formation could pay dividends. He went into great detail about how to react to different match situations and on how we had to press. When our defence is solid and the communication good, it makes things easier. We’ve changed a lot since the defeat in Tampere. We prepare for every match as if it’s a Champions League final”, said the Ferencváros player. “Naturally it would have been good to come first, but we’ve learned from our mistakes. We have to continue in a similar vein, and are looking forward to the draw for the European Championship qualifiers”.