London 2012: GB men's coxless four can still win gold - Reed

The Great Britain men's coxless four are confident they can improve sufficiently to overhaul Australia and win Olympic gold this summer.

Defeats in the semi-finals and finals at the World Cup in Munich last weekend were the GB crew's first as a four.

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If you crossed the line second on the fourth of August, it would be four years of your life completely wasted

Pete Reed GB coxless four

The Olympic final will take place at Eton Dorney on 4 August.

"We're not going to make any excuses for our performance, we know we need to be better," Beijing gold medallist Pete Reed told BBC Sport.

"But if we had got gold that might have been the worst thing that could have happened.

"There might have been the tiniest fraction of complacency over the next six weeks and you can't really control that, and that might have made the difference for the big race on the 4 August. That is not going to be there now."

Reed, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory will try to win a fourth successive gold for Britain in the flagship boat made famous by the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell.

"We have to be careful because I think now there will be a whole lot of criticism for our four," Reed added. "We are the flagship boat and we are supposed to be winning all the time.

"We are in silver medal position. None of us want that, of course, and if you think what the reality would be like if you crossed the line second on the fourth of August, it would be four years of your life completely wasted.

"And it is not just what we have done, it is about the sort of people we are and what comes from the Olympic Games and competing there. It is life-defining. You will always look back at your life and regret it.

Analysis - Munich World Cup

  • Men's four: "I'm not that shocked, I thought the Aussies looked really good three weeks ago. It's very, very close to call and it can go either way over the next five weeks. They have to get in their minds how they're going to row that race. It's the second and third 500s where the Australians are killing our guys - they've got to be more in the race in that middle period. They've got to be more determined, more gutsy, to stay in there."
  • Purchase & Hunter: "That performance is not what we expect. We know they have the capability but now we're talking about pulling it out of the bag on the day. They're a very experienced crew and coach; it's really about getting their minds right. They are reigning Olympic and world champions, they have a lot of pride and they'll be fighting, but you can't class them as favourites now."

"The next block of training will be ruthless and hard, and we will scrutinise each other and test ourselves and try to get every little piece of technique and physical training done to the very best of our ability - and we will need to do that to win.

"I am very confident that we can do that as a four. It is the right four guys and we have all the ingredients, so we won't ever forget Munich. That'll be the best way to look at it."

Reed's team-mate Gregory said: "We are not rowing as well as we can but we are very clear on what we need to do to make that distance up and we are very confident that we can do that. It is not a big deal, it is not a big panic for us, but it is a heads up that we need to get better.

"I think the fact that Jurgen's (coach Jurgen Grobler) boats never tend to win the regatta penultimate to the big events is reflective of his training programme."

Reigning Olympic champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter finished a lowly sixth in the lightweight double in Munich, repeating their result from the previous race in Lucerne.

"It was really disappointing coming sixth," said Hunter. "It couldn't have gone any worse than it did, because we went there with the expectation of being back on the podium.

"But it does bring you back down to reality, in that if you don't get things right and put things in place then that can happen. But we are confident, having been in this situation before and having worked in certain areas that we need to improve on, and we showed we have the speed in Munich, we just need the consistency to produce it day after day."

Purchase added: "We are becoming quite the specialists at turning around disappointing performances, and that turnaround already started after Lucerne when put in some pretty big changes in how we are training to make sure that we are thinking about the long game."