Johnson refuses to get carried away
November 15, 2010
England manager Martin Johnson founds plenty of reason to smile at Twickenham on Saturday © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson was keeping his emotions firmly in check on Saturday night despite the emphatic nature of his side's 35-18 victory over Australia at Twickenham.
A rare victory over Tri-Nations opposition - their first at home for four years - and the best performance of Johnson's tenure would appear good reason for the England boss to lead the celebrations but that's not his style.
Johnson rarely shows emotion, especially in public. The only reason he ventured anywhere near the touchline in the closing stages yesterday was because his radio was broken. Twickenham celebrated wildly but Johnson remained measured. The only thought in his mind was ensuring England remain on the move.
"It's just the way I am. I get more emotional after defeats than victories," said Johnson. "I said to the players afterwards 'you have got the rewards for all the work you have put in and have a good night - but let's keep on putting the work in and we'll get better'.
"The team is going in the right direction. We want to be consistent and when we get back into camp on Monday we will look at getting better. However good you are you strive to get better. The minute you start patting yourself on the back in rugby union you come unstuck.
"I thought we played really well and I am really happy for everyone involved. It puts a spring in everyone's step. It gives everyone a great buzz. We have to go out and perform every week and that is what we need to get better at."
Johnson even played down winger Chris Ashton's wonder try that set the seal on a sensational performance. "It was a really good try. I was just thinking 'let's not get carried away, let's control the kick-off and score the next points'," he said.
Asked whether he had ever seen a better try at Twickenham, he dead-panned: "I think I scored one, from two yards against Italy, which I thought was better."
He added, "The good thing is we had the wherewithal to have a go and then execute it. Everyone wants to talk about the try but it doesn't happen without the nuts and bolts, the turnover, the breakdown. We didn't change the gameplan significantly from last week, we just executed it better. In terms of performance it was the best we have done in that area."
Johnson is convinced his charges can improve even on a record-equalling victory over the Wallabies. "We have young players who came into this team having been playing well for their clubs and are now producing that for England. They could be around for a decade," said Johnson. "We can't live off this win. It adds to the confidence of the team but at this level, against the top teams, if you are not on your game on any given day you risk losing. It is another step on road for us."
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