England manager Sarina Wiegman hailed a “very important” three points after the Lionesses opened their Nations League account with a 2-1 win against Scotland.
Just over a month since their World Cup final loss to Spain, the Lionesses picked up an inaugural win in the competition.
Former Black Cat Lucy Bronze opened the scoring at the Stadium of Light before Lauren Hemp doubled the lead and Kirsty Hanson pulled one back – all in the six minutes before the break.
The visitors had opportunities to level in the second half, with Hanson and Christy Grimshaw having the pick of the chances, but were unable to capitalise and Wiegman was pleased her side were able to take the win – which left them alongside Belgium at the top of Group A1 after the latter’s surprise win over the Netherlands.
“First of all I’m very happy with the three points, three very important points,” she told a press conference.
“You see how competitive the Nations League is with the other results we’ve seen.
“I think the first half we’ve played a lot better than the second half and scored two good goals.
“We also gave away a couple of counter-attacks where Scotland showed they were really dangerous in those moments – I think those were our own mistakes that gave them that opportunity – but I think overall we were a lot better the first half and second half we were struggling.
“Overall we kept the win and that’s the most important thing off the back of the World Cup and a very short turnaround where players haven’t played any competitive games yet.”
The Nations League is a new competition for this year and there is a chance for England to secure Paris 2024 Olympics qualification on behalf of Great Britain via the tournament.
England next face the Netherlands in Utrecht and Wiegman is pleased to see “more competitive games” being played.
“If you look at other groups there’ve been really tight too, some remarkable results, that’s what we want,” she added.
“We wanted more competitive games, we want to develop the game and get top countries to improve, but countries just underneath the top to also get closer.
“We’ve seen in the World Cup that everything comes closer and closer, which is very exciting for the game, but it’s really good to have these competitive games that you don’t know ahead who’s going to win the game and who’s going to top the group.”
Scotland manager Pedro Martinez Losa was “disappointed” with the result.
He said: “We are disappointed because we came here to win and that’s the ambition we have as a team. We wanted to come here to compete and play the football we wanted to play.
“I think Scotland was brilliant in many other moments, this is the performances that this team can put together and we want to do it again in the next matches.
“We are not still happy, we will never be happy losing games but we want the ambition to win games.
“We had the feeling we could get something else in the game but now the only thing we can do is to take the positives, continue building to make sure we can recover and go again on Tuesday (against Belgium).”