Lee backs charges to bounce back at Hockey World Cup

02 June 2014 / 07:22

England women's hockey coach Jason Lee has backed his side to bounce back from a disappointing start to their World Cup campaign in Holland.

Lee admitted the 2-1 defeat to world number ten USA, a team ranked seven places below England, was a blow that left no margin for error in the four group games to come - starting with China tomorrow.

The USA, coached by former England assistant Craig Parnham, went ahead through a Paige Selenski goal and a Kasey Kolojejchick effort and while captain Katie Richardson-Walsh pulled one back, late pressure was not converted to an equaliser.

"I don’t think it has to derail our ambitions for the rest of the tournament, in many ways it focuses our minds a little bit more as we’re running out of slip room," said Lee.

"Fundamentally we didn’t start particularly well. The first ten minutes didn’t reflect our ability at all. America took two well worked corners and from then on we were chasing the game.

"I think we created a lot of good opportunities. Their corner defence was good but on another day we might have taken our chances and won the game.

“I felt quite confident at half time we would score goals and hoped we’d get enough but it wasn’t to be. I think we’ve learned that how we start is crucial and as I said it could’ve done us a favour because we now have no choice in the second game, we have to hit our straps from the first second.”

England are looking to improve on their third place four years ago in Argentina and include several members of the British team that took Olympic bronze at London 2012 in their squad.

And Richardson-Walsh denied nerves got the better of her players.

"We need to look at ourselves individually and start games, as Jason said, at full pace, full tilt and go for it from the off," she said.

“We’ve played in front of big crowds before. Lots of our players have played in important tournaments at the Europeans and the World League so they’re used to playing big games in front of big crowds."

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