Skip to main content

Poland coach tells critics: I'll do it my way

Local media and fans were unhappy that Smuda failed to refresh a squad who looked worn out after dominating the first half in the opening game of Euro 2012.

"I have my principles, they always turn out to be the right ones and I always come out smelling of roses," Smuda told reporters after Poland's training session on Saturday.

"Why should I do what someone else suggests. I have to do what I want to do."

Smuda said he had intended to replace goal-scorer Robert Lewandowski with fellow striker Pawel Brozek before the sending off of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on 69 minutes forced him to alter his plans.

"The red card for the keeper changed everything. When you play with 10 men a lot of changes can break the whole machine. I know from my experience that if coaches make a lot of changes the only thing that results is a mess."

Smuda said he was likely to tweak his side to face Russia. Asked how many changes there would be to the outfield line up, he said: "There will not be many. Maybe one. There will not be more."

Left-back Sebastian Boenisch has been widely criticised for mistakes that led to Greece's goal and Szczesny's sending off, but many local commentators say Smuda's conservative approach will lead him to stick with the same starting defence.

They point to speedy creative midfielder Kamil Grosicki or last year's Polish player of the year Adrian Mierzejewski as possible inclusions, with Maciej Rybus or French-born Ludovic Obraniak dropping out.

"The players are tired but we have three days more and on Tuesday we will have everybody in good shape," Smuda added.

"[Russia] have a number of super, experienced players who have already taken part in tournaments. They have experience but we for sure are not scared of them. We are playing at home. Why should we be scared?"

Right-back Lukasz Piszczek, who impressed against Greece, said he expected Russia to win the group and the Poles to be playing the Czechs for the other spot in the quarter-finals.

"I think the game with the Czechs will be the decider for who gets out of the group."