Gunes: Players felt the pressure
By Mike Apps. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Turkey coach Senol Gunes has revealed he felt that his players were affected by the huge pressure on them in their crucial victory over China.
They secured a 3-0 victory over their Far-Eastern opponents which, along with Costa Rica's defeat to Brazil, ensured their progress in the World Cup on goal difference.
"At the end of the first half, we saw signs of some players being tired," said Gunes.
"There were problems created by the big pressure on players, especially after the game with Brazil. And this pressure affected us and also in the match against China today.
"But now we are relieved in every way and I believe it is going to be better," he added.
Gunes said his side had kept their promise to reach the second round, and had deserved their victory.
He was philosophical when asked which side he would like to face next in the tournament.
"It doesn't matter if it is Japan, Russia or Belgium, but it may be a slight disadvantage to play against the host nation.
"At the knockout stage, we want to progress. We surely will play better football in the next phase than we did in the group stage," he predicted.
Defender Bulent Korkmaz, who was delighted to score for his country in what he thought was a dominant victory, concurred with Gunes.
"We'll have to play even harder than we've been playing in order to win in the next round," he said.
He was not sure how far Turkey could go in the competition, however, commenting: "I can't say for certain, but we'll do the best we can and see how far we get."