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Handball coach keeps his feet on the ground
3:30pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in Olympic News
Great Britain men's coach Dragan Djukic is keen for his side to rein in their expectations when they face Tunisia in their penultimate Group A preliminary match tomorrow.
After heavy defeats to reigning Olympic and world champions France and three-time silver medallists Sweden in their opening two games of the tournament, Djukic went public with his optimism of beating Argentina ahead of their last outing yesterday.
While it was a much-improved effort from Team GB, with the first half a particularly rousing performance, it still ended in defeat and the Serbian tactician knows it will be tougher against the Africans, who ran France close.
"We have to bring the team back, the expectation was really high in the last match and the Tunisian team is very strong," he said. "We watched them and they played for 50 minutes at the same level as France.
"They have some great players with lots of experience and are physically very strong. We will try and make some surprises and change our playing style and most importantly be competitive."
Skipper Bobby White was one player staying positive after yesterday's defeat to the South Americans, claiming there was "nothing to take the shine off" when questioned whether a second-half slump had ruined his day.
New Forest ace Dan McMillan also cut a disappointed figure, along with Poole’s John Pearce.
And White knows his side have to cut the mistakes out if they are to get close to their opponents.
"We have to pick ourselves up for Tunisia. Our tactics are right, it's just technical mistakes," he said.
"Tunisia are very strong. Physically they will be a bit more of a challenge for us.
"We have played them a couple of times before and they have actually lost a couple of experienced players since then, so hopefully that will put us in good stead."
Tunisia have lost all three of their games at the tournament, but the way they matched a world-class France for long spells will fill Great Britain with dread.
While anything other than a Tunisia rout looks highly unlikely, coach Alain Portes is remaining cautious.
"The next two games for us are very important if we want to make the quarter-finals," he said.
"We have respect for Great Britain, they have had three good matches. Djukic is a very good coach and they are very solid and play together. Playing against Great Britain here in their own stadium will be very tough."