Pearce blames nerves for GB’s anti-climactic opener

LONDON 2012

GREAT BRITAIN 1
SENEGAL 1

TEAM GB manager Stuart Pearce felt nerves were responsible for his side’s uninspiring start to the Olympics after an occasion where physical bruises exceeded even those of the ego.

It was the 20th-minute when Craig Bellamy scored Britain’s opening goal but control thereafter remained elusive and Senegal’s late equaliser was ultimately exactly what was deserved. Should the home side again fail to win in their next fixture against the United Arab Emirates, they will be reliant upon a positive result in their final Group A match against Uruguay but Pearce’s men will have to significantly improve in order to do so.

“I saw nerves before the game,” said Pearce. “A lot of our players have played Premier League football, but this cranked it up a bit.

“Late on in the game we ran out of a bit of gas and it went end to end at that stage.

“We would have liked to have gone on [and scored more] after getting our noses in front, but we are still in the mix, it’s going to be a wide open group, and we have to take confidence from this. Physically, Senegal were a bigger side than us and more powerful. But that’s not an excuse, we will come away from the match, have a good look at it and see where we go from there.”

If the dream of a home nations team was 52 years in the making then it took only a fraction of that time for the reality to bite as Pearce’s side conceded their first-half lead to an equaliser eight minutes from the end.

Britain failed to take control after Bellamy calmly finished when the ball had fallen kindly to him and Senegal’s intensity – combined with several robust challenges that wrongly went unpunished – forced an eventual equaliser when Moussa Konate clinically placed beyond Jack Butland.