Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz appeared upset when asked to comment on general dissatisfaction with the defensive lineup in their 0-0 draw against Mexico in their World Cup opener, asking who should he drop to bolster the attack.
Striker Robert Lewandowski cut a lonely figure once again in the first half against Mexico’s rugged back line before Michniewicz shifted tactics and told Piotr Zielinski to play higher up, a change that led to Poland creating more chances.
The Poland coach introduced a second striker in the 87th minute, when Zielinski was substituted by Arkadiusz Milik.
“When someone asks me if it’s possible to set a different lineup, I answer: ‘Of course it is possible. But at the expense of whom?’,” Michniewicz told the news conference on Thursday.
“If you, journalists, would like to field some other player, just say for whom because we can’t play 12. If you want a second striker, then you have to simply drop someone from that lineup.”
Poland captain Lewandowski seemed to again silently share the discontent felt by the nation, confirming that, tactics-wise, not to concede was the priority against Mexico.
“If in the back of your mind there’s the thought that the defence is the most important thing, then that’s what it looks like later on,” Lewandowski said after the game on Tuesday.
“With more courageous play, we’re able to create situations, keeping that balance between the attack and defence. We can’t be afraid to take risks, because when we pressed more Mexico lost their way.”
Speaking ahead of Poland’s Group C match against Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the coach had a different point of view.
“What was missing against Mexico from my perspective was the use of golden chances,” Michniewicz said.
The coach specified they had three clear opportunities and reminded the reporters, amid a spree of questions, that Poland also won a penalty which Lewandowski missed.
“Another element where we need to look better is keeping the possession in the opponent’s half,” he added.