Robert Lewandowski: Poland 'not effective' in loss to Senegal
Robert Lewandowski offered a scathing appraisal of Poland's performance in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup, saying their display was "not effective" in a 2-1 defeat to Senegal on Tuesday.
Poland lost thanks to a pair of careless mistakes, the first an own-goal from Thiago Cionek and the second coming after a series of errors from, among others, Jan Bednarek and Wojciech Szczesny.
But while their two goals carried more than an element of fortune, Senegal were much the better side, looking controlled in midfield and more dynamic in attack, and that's what appeared to irk the Bayern Munich forward the most.
"We played with no tempo or pace, very little communication," said Lewandowski after the match. "We were playing it side to side with no urgency or looking to move the ball forward. This type of play is not effective.
"We didn't get any good forward balls to do anything with, and instead concentrated on keeping the ball at the back and keeping possession. We also made a lot of simple mistakes, which makes it difficult to attack."
The defeat, combined with Japan's surprise victory over Colombia in the earlier Group H game, means Poland cannot afford another slip-up in their remaining two fixtures.
"We are not in an easy or comfortable situation," Lewandowski said. "We've played our way into this and now we need to turn things around, fight and progress. There's a lot to improve and get right. If we set out to play football and attack from the onset we will get to where we need to be."
Despite putting in a limp and leaden performance himself, Lewandowski seemed to point the finger at his teammates for their errors, which ultimately cost Poland the game.
"They tried more than us and wanted to play football. We kept making simple mistakes. It's always difficult when you let in simple goals, especially the second," he said.
Head coach Adam Nawalka broadly agreed with Lewandowski's assessment, even if he was less direct with his words.
"We had a plan, but plans are one thing and the implementation is something different," Nawalka said. "What counts is the end result. And what's in the net counts the most.
"At the World Cup, if you want a good result, then you should play better."
Poland's next game is against Colombia on Sunday in Kazan.
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.