Lewandowski doing incredibly well, insists coach

SAINT-ETIENNE • Coach Adam Nawalka again brushed off concerns about Robert Lewandowski's lack of goals at Euro 2016, as Poland ended their 34-year wait to reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament.

Nawalka was delighted as Poland reached the quarter-finals on the big stage for the first time since the 1982 World Cup, where they ended third in Spain. And he insisted that Lewandowski is doing "incredibly well" at the European Championship Finals.

The Bialo-czerwoni (white and reds) had never previously qualified for a Euro knockout stage.

Poland claimed the first quarter-final place in France on Saturday with a 5-4 win over Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out, after Granit Xhaka blasted his spot kick wide.

The Poles will now play Portugal in the quarter-finals in Marseille on Thursday.

Despite netting Poland's first penalty in the shoot-out, Lewandowski, the top scorer in qualifying with 13 goals, remains without a regular goal in France.

But the Bayern Munich striker worked tirelessly to run Poland's attack, constantly dropping deep into midfield and creating chances for others.

Nawalka, as he did in the pre-match press conference, dismissed any criticism about his captain's lack of goals.

"I'll repeat it again, Robert Lewandowski is doing incredibly well and is helping the team to play better and stronger," said Nawalka.

"The most important thing is the win and I'm very happy with him.

"There have been cases in the past where players, who are the star players of their team, got frustrated and when things didn't go their way, they didn't care.

"It's the opposite here.

"Robert Lewandowski is fantastic and we're happy with the way he plays, he's giving and creating chances."

Nawalka is tipping his talisman to hit the net at Euro 2016 - preferably against Portugal.

"I am sure the break will happen for him in the next game," said the Poland boss. "He's working so hard."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Lewandowski doing incredibly well, insists coach'. Print Edition | Subscribe