(Vålerenga-Sparta Sarpsborg 1-2) Sparta coach Sjur Robert Nilsen is strongly critical of Vålerenga’s marketing manager Glenn Jensen directed at Storhamar before the start of the series – but also believes that it gave his team extra ignition.
– It’s okay to have faith in yourself. We have to be careful just to make A4 statements, and it would be nice if it came from a player. But that a marketing manager does it, I do not think Norwegian ice hockey benefits, says Sparta’s coach after the away win over Vålerenga in Nye Jordal Amfi.
– Mocking an opponent is totally unnecessary, adds Sjur Robert Nilsen (53), who is also the assistant coach for Petter Thoresen on the national team.
Confronted with Sjur Robert Nilsen’s criticism, Vålerenga’s marketing manager Glenn Jensen answers on Saturday night as follows: – Sjur and Sparta get to do their part, and we in Vålerenga with ours. Then we have to count up in the end.
It was before the ice hockey series started a week ago that Glenn Jensen (34) via VG fired at Fjordkraft league opponent Storhamar in particular. Jensen, who has previously stood in goal for the Oslo club and is considered a “Ice Warrior celebrity”, believed that not one player on the Hamar team was good enough to grab a place in Kenneth Larsen and Espen Shampo Knutsen’s top league team.
Jensen said this on the basis of what he had seen in a training match between the two teams just before the start of the series.
– Not a single man on the Storhamar team had taken a place on this year’s Vålerenga team. Patrick Thoresen is probably the only one who could have been relevant, but he did not play this match, said Vålerenga’s marketing manager.
– You say he set fire to the fire. Was there also rice for your own back?
– I believe in sharpening it. But it was a bit of 80s marketing. I do not think anything of it. That is why I say no, Sjur Robert Nilsen answers.
Sparta beat Vålerenga 5–4 in the then brand new Jordal Amfi after a penalty shootout before Christmas last season, well worth noting right after virtually the entire Sarpsborg team had been knocked out by the coronavirus. Sparta goalkeeper Tobias Normann saved all of Vålerenga’s penalty kicks.
This time, Sparta’s new Canadian goalkeeper Jake Paterson (27) saved well over 40 Vålerenga shots, while Vålerenga’s goalkeeper Tobias “Tuben” Breivold (20) saved two of just over 20.
– He saved us and won the battle for us. But if you take away the first six or seven first minutes and the end of the last period, it was an even match, says Sjur Robert Nilsen – who believes Vålerenga has the strongest team on paper of the Fjordkraft league’s 10 teams.
– But it’s even. I think seven of the teams will compete for the top places, he says.
Sander Thoresen (22.29) and Martin Grönberg (29.59) scored before Sparta, before Mika Partanen reduced halfway (30.54) in the match.