Monday 23 October 2017

Nawalka in firing line as Polish morale hits new low

Garry Doyle

The scars from a Euro 2012 tournament that promised so much and ended so prematurely are still visible.

When the additional pain of a failed World Cup campaign made life overly miserable, a change in regime was demanded.

By last Friday it had arrived. If you swallowed the hype then you were there to witness a new dawn, but for Adam Nawalka, Poland's latest managerial incumbent, it proved to be a false one.

Already he is feeling the heat. Booed off the pitch after Slovakia inflicted a 2-0 home defeat four days ago, he now faces the indignity of staring at empty terraces in Poznan this evening. And we thought we had trouble.

"We have to regain our people's trust," said Nawalka. "There is a pressing need to eliminate Friday's mistakes because that was a game we were in charge of.

MOTIVATED

"It all got out of hand and we got what we deserved. But our players will be motivated to win against the Irish and I believe we will.

"We have a squad with potential. Yes, we looked disastrous against Slovakia, but I am sure we will improve."

Borussia Dortmund pair Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszcykowski represent the only real class within Poland's ranks.

Yet even they have failed to recreate their club form at international level over the last 18 months, Lewandowski scoring just three times for his country since Euro 2012.

"It's not that I am worried," Lewandowski said. "But I know I need to improve. We all do. Our concentration levels were terribly poor against Slovakia."

Nawalka brought his men to the firing range yesterday, believing a change of scenery, and sport, would boost morale as well as providing his men with a new focus. "It's an unusual tactic," the manager said, "but it works."

Irish Independent

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