Shelley Kerr: I won’t be parking the bus because I look at the bigger picture
Shelley Kerr stressed Scotland would not “park the bus” against top teams after they suffered their second defeat in Group D at the Women’s World Cup.
As was the case for their opener against England, the Scots’ clash with Japan in Rennes on Friday saw them lose 2-1 having conceded twice in the first half, improve after the break and score in the closing stages.
It was put to Kerr afterwards that there had been some questioning of her tactics, and she was asked if, in hindsight, there was anything she would have done differently.
The Scotland coach said: “I think there won’t be many teams ranked 20th who play against a team ranked seventh and previously, in England, third that run them so close.
“Tactically, I’m not a coach who is going to sit in and park the bus against the better teams because we’ll never improve.
“We’ve improved massively over the last 18 months and that’s because we have a philosophy.
“People might think that that is not the right thing to do but I think it’s hugely important for us as a national team to play with a style and a system and a philosophy, and I think we’ve done that.”
She added: “It was part of our team meeting conversation (on Friday morning) – we needed to be brave and positive.
“We are not going to be a Scottish team that sits behind the ball all the time, I think we are past that. I think we’ve got good enough players that we can cause teams problems.
“We have to be positive – there were positives in the game. That is something we try to instil in them. If you go in with a negative attitude then you’ll never be successful.”
In what is their debut Women’s World Cup finals campaign, Scotland must now defeat Argentina – who are 17 places below them in the world rankings – in Paris on Wednesday to have a chance of making the last 16.
A victory would give them third place in their Group D, and four of the six third-placed finishers will join the top two from each group in the next round.
They went 1-0 down on Friday in the 23rd minute when Japan made the most of a mistake by Scotland captain Rachel Corsie, with Mana Iwabuchi firing in.
Japan’s second then came via a penalty eight minutes prior to the interval, Corsie being penalised after putting her hand on the shoulder of Yuika Sugasawa, who converted the resulting spot-kick.
In the second half, Erin Cuthbert’s protest that Risa Shimizu had handled in the box was rejected, and the Chelsea forward then hit the post before substitute Lana Clelland, pictured, pulled a goal back with a superb strike in the 88th minute.
Kerr had no doubt with regard to the Cuthbert incident that it should have been a penalty.
She added: “There’s no point in dwelling on it. It doesn’t change anything. We need to focus on getting a result against Argentina.”