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Interview: GB water polo coach Nick Buller praises side's teamwork

GB water polo head coach Nick Buller praises his side after they secure 11th place at the European Games with a 10-5 win over Israel.

Nick Buller has spoken out in praise of his GB side after they secured 11th place in the women's water polo tournament at the European Games.

Having failed to progress into the top 10 yesterday, GB delivered a comfortable 10-5 victory over Israel this afternoon to ensure that they would not finish last in the rankings.

Sports Mole caught up with Buller shortly after the match to reflect on the tournament as a whole and preview what's next for the fledgling side.

You had one aim today and you managed that. How do you feel the game went?

"It's a game that was based on defence. We talked about how important it was to work against their centre-forward, who's been fantastic. She scored five goals against us [in the group stage], then scored six goals against France yesterday. So it was all about everyone in the team being aware of that and working together. Our centre-backs had a really top game, but the other players were ready to step in when needed to. That teamwork was key to our success."

Obviously your aim coming into the tournament was a top-10 finish and you didn't quite manage that, but how do you look back on the tournament overall? There were some encouraging results in there.

"Most certainly. It's a tremendously long tournament and we've played a tremendous amount of games. We were out here four days earlier as well, so it's been extremely tiring. Yesterday we had to play very early in the morning when our game the day before was later in the night, so it had an effect.

"Dealing with pressured situations where we knew it was a tight game - that's something we had to improve, and I think the girls did that this time. I think they had too much of a burden on them before - put on by themselves - but they just needed to be relaxed, follow their gameplan and trust in their own ability. They did that and it worked for them."

Obviously your tournament is ending a couple of days earlier than you'd hoped, so how will you spend the time? Will it be a recon mission, watching the other teams?

"Yeah, most certainly we'll do that. We can [film] informational videos for when we go back home to help improvement. But also for the girls to just enjoy these last few days. They're out here at a major Games. Now they can relax because their focus has been on playing the games up until today. Now they can go and watch other sports and really enjoy it."

After you return home, what's up next for the girls?

"There'll be lots of opportunities. England Water Polo has set up a management group and they're looking for GB to put teams into the European competitions every year. Next year there's a European championship for players born in 1997 and 1998, so many of these players will be involved in that I imagine. So that's what they've got to look forward to, and hopefully much more as well."

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