The Great Britain boss is confident his side can bounce back from its disappointing opening draw to Senegal in Group A of the men's football tournamentTeam GB manager Stuart Pearce has admitted he is hoping to keep his side’s Olympic experience going for as long as possible.
His Great Britain team opened its Olympics campaign with a draw against Senegal on Thursday at Old Trafford, but Pearce is certain his side can bounce back in style when it takes on the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on Sunday evening.
Peace is maintaining he is not looking to the quarterfinals yet, but he is aware that a decent string of results could book Team GB a place in the next round.
"Every single one of us, 18 players, myself and my coaching staff, will cherish this experience for the rest of their lives and want to extend it for as long as we can," Pearce told The Mirror. "We are savouring every moment."
"Being part of this environment is fantastic exposure. Everyone is trying to help one another. It is awe-inspiring to be part of a team of over 500 athletes. It makes everyone appreciate there is a bigger picture than just football. There is a perception about our profession but that is a small minority. The vast majority are very hard working.”
Although very different to what Team GB’s players are used to, Pearce has admitted the whole squad have got into the Olympic experience and are enjoying the ride.
"No-one has any airs and graces," he said. "There is no pushing and shoving. Everyone has a smile. The whole thing is just a fantastic spectacle. There were so many athletes, from so many different nations, just doing their own thing. In one corner there were a group of Italian judo players, in another there were a couple of Moroccan wrestlers."
"In another part were some Russian gymnasts who were getting their legs into positions I couldn't even dream about."
Pearce has also hit out at the critics who have labeled his Team GB side as just a novelty act, claiming he has picked a strong squad and that he is aiming to win the gold medal.
"I don't know what is being said outside the football bubble and it is out of my control anyway," Pearce said. I have brought a squad to a tournament and am preparing them to win it, exactly as I would with any other.
"People have been talking about this being our first Olympic team for 52 years but my message throughout has been the same. We are in this for the long haul - but our results and performances have to match the ambition."
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