Lagerback upbeat despite dour draw

Last updated at 09:21 26 May 2006

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback preferred to focus on the positives after seeing his side limp to a dour goalless draw in their World Cup warm-up clash against Finland in Gothenburg.

The Swedes lacked fluency and creativity in their penultimate friendly ahead of the finals in Germany, their performance summed up by the crescendo of boos from the home crowd which greeted the final whistle.

The hosts, without the rested Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and injured Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, were rarely troubled at the back and could have nicked victory through a number of chances which fell to striker Johan Elmander.

But it was not a display that will leave their group opponents in the World Cup - England, Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago - quaking in their boots.

Lagerback, however, remained upbeat, saying: "We wanted to make sure our defence was working as it should be and we were good there.

"It could have been better up front. With a bit of luck, Elmander could have scored a couple of goals with his chances. We should really have won.

"But the best thing was that Olof Mellberg, Mikael Nilsson and Erik Edman in defence received some playing time because they have not seen much action recently.

"They need all the playing time they can get."

With Elmander missing chances, fellow striker Markus Rosenberg struggling to get into the game and their attacking midfielders failing to provide the necessary support, the game was crying out for the magical touch of star forward Ibrahimovic.

The Juventus player, however, was left on the bench by Lagerback, much to the frustration of the home supporters who were singing his name for the majority of the contest.

"I understand the crowd," added the coach. "I would have also wanted to see Ibrahimovic if I was in the stands like them."

Rosenberg, who failed to reproduce his stellar form for club side Ajax in this match, admitted Sweden did not turn up on the day.

"It did not go so well," he added. "They had a good defence and their midfielders stopped the ball coming into our strikers.

"We were forced into playing the long ball and they had plenty of people to defend that. It was hard.

"We had a few chances but unfortunately we could not score from them."

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