England Badminton must perform to reach European Mixed Team Championships says Jeffrey
England must avoid any complacency if they are to thrive at the European Mixed Team qualifiers this weekend according to England Badminton head coach Peter Jeffrey.
The 2017 bronze medallists are favourites to advance in Milton Keynes after naming a side comprising of six Rio 2016 Olympic veterans to face Italy, Belgium and Hungary.
Victory at the National Badminton Centre would ensure England progress to the February finals in Denmark where they will target a first crown since 1984.
With England the overwhelming favourites to breeze through to the finals, Jeffrey told his players that they must not get overconfident when facing opponents that have never reached the knock out stages of the competition in its 46-year history.
"I think it is important we put out a strong squad for every fixture," said Jeffrey.
"We have players who have been performing, and winning titles on the World Tour this year but we cannot for one second think qualification is a formality.
"We have to go out and do our job professionally and if we do that then the team points should take care of themselves and we will do ourselves proud.
"We will respect the opposition and prepare properly to play whoever is put in front of us. The nations may not have the level of World Tour winners we can put out but we are expecting them to bring pride in playing for their country.
"To beat England would be a big deal and we have to be ready to deal with that and match that level of pride which I am sure my players will," he added.
England have scooped the title five times and clinched a spot in the semi-finals last time in Poland before succumbing to the challenge of Russia.
Despite England being one of the seven seeded nations, Jeffrey says he has resisted the temptation to blood a new set of troops and instead pick his battle hardened veterans to ensure progression.
"We could have drafted in a few younger players for these fixtures and given them the experience of pulling on a England shirt at this level," he said.
"But we want to create a winning mentality across the squad and ultimately the senior players want to share in the pride and passion that comes with playing for England.
"This event matters to us from the start. It will be a first of most of them to play as a national team on home soil and that is something that I want to enjoy."