Levein Is Fan Of Nations Cup

28 May 2011 10:40
Craig Levein is pleased to get his players together and win games Craig Levein considers the Carling Nations Cup to be a "first-class" competition despite opposing views from the other managers involved. Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington considers the timing, at the end of what has been a long, hard season for many players, has not been ideal, as his side have endured poor performances and low turnout of players and fans. Wales manager Gary Speed described the tournament as a pointless exercise that has been of little benefit. However, as Scotland and the Republic of Ireland prepare to play for the prize on Sunday night, Levein was far more complimentary.  He said: "I can only answer questions about the tournament from my own perspective and my perspective is that it's been a first-class competition for me and for the players. It's not my job to look at the make-up of the tournament and suggest anything they might improve on. That's not my business or something I want to get involved in. The tournament is on, our players are here and they are playing the games in the right manner and trying to win. If the tournament is on again in two years' time we will be there and trying to do the same again."  Levein wants Team Scotland to emerge from squad gatherings and thinks that tournaments like the Nations Cup in Dublin can only boost his aim of making playing for Scotland attractive to players again. He said: "That's the difficulty for every international manager. In recent years there has been a change in the importance of international football. Club football, in some areas, has become more important. That, for an international manager, is an extremely difficult situation to cope with. As the Scotland manager, my job is to make playing for Scotland as attractive as possible so that everybody wants to be here and everybody wants to play. The more often we can get them together, the better it is. That allows them to work together in training and also spend time together, which can only help them foster a good attitude. We are working towards that and we are improving and every now and then there will be a snap-shot of where that improvement is. Not so long ago, we played Brazil which was an extremely difficult match. I was a little bit worried that would dent their confidence but the players have responded extremely well. The game on Sunday is another snap-shot of where we are. Then, unfortunately, we don't play again until August against Denmark and I just keep my fingers crossed that everybody is fit and available."  The Scots won their first Carling Nations Cup game against Northern Ireland 3-0 in February, before recovering from a goal down to secure a 3-1 win over Wales on Wednesday. Levein said: "My intention is to have a Scotland team who competes in every match they play in. I don't believe you can drop your standards for friendly matches and then expect to pick them up again for competitive games. So the idea is to instil in the players a competitive nature that makes them want to win every match. That's the intention."  Levein alsodefended his team's style of play against the Welsh, despite claims by Speed that Charlie Adam should have been sent off. Levein said: "Gary is obviously a bit frustrated with the way the game went. We played the game in the manner that I've tried to instil in the players and that's to be competitive. To be fair, but to be competitive and try to win. I've watched the DVD of the match and I thought we did that. Gary is frustrated because he didn't win the game and I've been in the same position myself. But, as far as I'm concerned, the players played the game in the right manner and deserved to win the game."