Ferns’ stand-in coach Michael Mayne: ‘There’s some positives we can take’

New Zealand’s acting head coach, Michael Mayne, says he saw positives in the Football Ferns’ performance against Japan and can find ways to improve ahead of Tuesday’s return match.

The Ferns lost the first game in the two-match series 2-0 against the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-finalists in Murcia, Spain, conceding either side of half-time.

MATCH REPORT: Football Ferns struggle to create chances as they lose to Japan in Spain >>>>

Main photo: Michael Mayne … ‘the team really stuck together.’

In his post-match interview, Mayne said: “Once we adjusted to some of the problems they were posing us, and were able to figure out how to get good ball in the middle third, I actually think we played really well.

“Obviously, a world-class side like Japan, they’ll punish us if we get small things wrong, so we expected that, but I thought the reaction to those moments was really good.

“I think the team really stuck together, and I think there’s some real positives that we can take into the game on Monday (Tuesday NZT).”

Mayne said he could see room for improvements, such as doing more to exploit opportunities on Japan’s “weak side”, and to slow down their opponents when they were advancing.

The rotation of players meant many got the chance to push their claims for selection for the 18-player squad going to the Paris Olympics.

“Everyone’s out there to perform and compete,” Mayne said.

“I thought everybody that got on the pitch tonight gave a good showing, represented us really well, stuck together and so it’s now what we can do in the next 48 hours to be ready to go (Tuesday NZT) and just do things a little bit better.”

Mayne is the acting head coach for New Zealand in the absence of Jitka Klimková who has taken leave while an employment-related matter is under investigation.


Game played on Saturday, June 1, 2024

New Zealand 0
Japan 2 (Mina Tanaka 45+2′, Tōko Koga 47′)


Game to be played on Tuesday June 4, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Japan
Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain, 2am (NZT)

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