Hockey: Bold Brits fight fear factor
August 4, 2012 01:09 am
Great Britain hockey midfielder Ashley Jackson claims the 4-1 win over Pakistan was achieved by the players fighting fear and taking collective responsibility.
The 24-year-old scored twice and had a hand in the other two goals for James Tindall and Jonty Clarke - Sohail Abbas scoring a late consolation - in a match-winning performance as the team put their disappointing draw with South Africa firmly behind them.
But the East Grinstead star said it was the change in the players' attitude which had brought about the swift turnaround and a return to the form displayed in their 4-1 opening win over Argentina.
"We had a bit of fear about us because if that went wrong we were in trouble but we played together as a team," Jackson told Press Association Sport. "There were still some bad things out there but they were covered up by the work we were putting in for each other.
"It is part of the team ethos. There were numerous other people involved in those goals. Cat (Nick Catlin) set up Jonty's goal after I gave him a ropey pass so it is definitely not just my responsibility. It is everyone's to grab it by the balls and make sure they do what needs to be done.
"The work we put in makes things a bit easier for us and to be so far ahead by the last few minutes made sure of no slip-ups."
While Jackson earned rave reviews for his performance it was only the first time he had turned it on at these Olympics and coach Jason Lee felt he was still short of his best.
"I have seen him play better but this is the standard Ashley has. He tends to be notable when our team plays better," Lee said. "I think he was less noticeable against South Africa because the team played poorly.
"But he is a star, he loves the pressure and he thrives on it and he will be someone who will be scoring goals throughout this tournament and the rest of his career - and long may it continue."
Captain Barry Middleton revealed the Britain players held a clear-the-air meeting after coming up short against South Africa.
"We had a chat when people could get anything out they were frustrated with and it was quite good to understand where people are and how you deal with it," he said. "We said we don't often play two bad games in a row so there is no need to get too worried about one performance.
"We are wise and old enough to put it in context - we were disappointed but we knew two days later we had another game. We had to perform because if we had let that affect us Pakistan would have rolled us over."
The result puts GB level on points with Pool A leaders Australia and the pair meet on Sunday in the clash of the group stage. Jackson said they go into it full of confidence.
"There is no reason why we can't do that against the Aussies," he added. "They will come at us a lot harder than Pakistan did, and will have a lot more chances probably, but we plan to return the favour and make sure we take our chances as well."