The biggest disappointment for Hughes was the manner in which his players could not take advantage of scoring so early. A more experienced side would have slowed down the game and quietened the crowd. It needed composure, a sense of authority. Yet by the time Mathijsen headed in a ninth-minute corner Given's goal was under siege.Daniel Taylor makes a valid point here in his match report in The Guardian. It is easy to forget how inexperienced in terms of European competition our line up was last night, and having gone ahead so early in the game we then found ourselves under tremendous pressure before Hamburg finally got back on level terms.
Perhaps a more experienced and wiser side than ourselves would have been able to navigate through that period in the opening ten minutes. Taylor also makes reference to the crowd and it certainly sounded an intense atmosphere last night which may have affected the players. You do wonder if we could have displayed a greater degree of control immediately after going ahead if we could have been successful in closing out the game and putting ourselves in a very strong position indeed heading back to Eastlands.
As it is, despite the belief that is eminating from the camp today, we really have left ourselves a mountain to climb next week.