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Interview: GB water polo coach Nick Buller pleased with improvement

Nick Buller says that he is impressed by the performance of his GB water polo girls, despite them registering their third defeat in a row.

GB water polo coach Nick Buller has said that he was left impressed by the performance of his side this afternoon, despite them registering their third defeat in a row at the European Games.

In Holland, the Great Britain team faced one of the tournament favourites and eventually succumbed by a 19-6 scoreline to a fierce Dutch side.

Sports Mole sat down with Buller immediately after the final whistle to get his thoughts on the game and assess the prospects of a first win tomorrow against struggling Israel.

Hi Nick, what did you make of the performance from the girls there?
"We knew that it was going to be very tough. We knew that it would be very physical and they'd be pressing us. I'm happy with the way the girls approached the game and I'm happy with the way they showed improvement from one game to the next. We've played Holland many times at youth level, and to get them down to scoring 20 goals is a good step, and to score six goals ourselves is a good step. We know that we gave away some sloppy goals, but we just need some more experience at this hard level, this physical level, to protect the ball better. Then we can eliminate those goals that we gave away. So we can see there's opportunity to make improvements in the future as well."

You said it was quite a physical game - that struck me too, their attacking prowess was immense, with the way they threw those shots into the net, and the way they closed down your players. How do you prepare against that?
"It's very difficult, because you're absolutely right, they've got fantastic shooting on the outside, but then if you go and press them, they've got a fantastic centre-forward who's scored lots of goals as well, so you're caught in two places really. How do you prepare? You prepare by doing what they do, which is that you train twice a day, five or six days a week. We train twice a week. So that's the difference. So you're spot on - how do we prepare? It's about preparing at home and having better opportunities for the girls, because I believe they have got the talent to compete, we've just got to find the opportunities for them to fulfil that talent."

You dominated possession again today and that was the same case yesterday in the loss to Germany. What's that telling you about where we're going wrong?
"It's double-edged. On one hand it's good if we're holding possession longer because they're very physical and in the past, with Greece we saw we had lots of steals, so maybe if we're holding the ball a bit longer now, it means we're being better at protecting the ball. But we need more of a cutting edge in terms of driving and finding that free player. But with the six goals we did score, we can be happy on that. It's about small steps in improving, and I think we have improved from the Greece game and we look forward to continuing to do so as we progress in the tournament."

Speaking of the goals, Verity McCoy's fourth - a backhander into the net from close range - was pretty special.
"It was superb. I think she must have had a nosebleed because I've never seen her that far up the pitch! She's normally a centre-back and she was on the 2-metre line. It was a fantastic goal."

Tomorrow you face Israel, who have also lost their three games but only managed to score five times so far. You surely must be confident going into this? You've scored three times as many goals.
"We look forward to it. We've got to study the video of the game carefully but we look forward to it. We take nothing for granted but we approach every game to do our best and to win, regardless of the situation we're in, and we'll certainly do that tomorrow."

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Team GB and Greece face off in the women's water polo prelim at the European Games in Baku on June 12, 2015
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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