‘We need to give our 100 per cent... there’s no pressure’
Silvio Vella, the coach of the Malta Under-16 team, had words of praise for his players after beating Armenia 1-0 in their opening game of the UEFA Boys Youth Under-16 Development Mini-Tournament on Wednesday.
Captain Shaun Dimech hit the winning goal with a low free-kick in the opening stages of the game at the Centenary Stadium.
“This is only the first international experience for these players,” Vella told www.mfa.com.mt.
“Of course, I’m not going to tell them that we need to win at all costs or that we must win this tournament. I’m only insisting that they all give their 100 per cent. There is no need to exert added pressure.”
The second-day fixtures will be played on Friday with Malta facing Andorra at 3 p.m. while Armenia meet Gibraltar in the curtain-raiser at 12.15 p.m. Andorra won their opening game against Gibraltar, 1-0.
“Like us, Andorra are coming from a 1-0 victory,” Vella said.
“From what I’ve seen, it looks like they (Andorra) are an organised and disciplined team on the pitch. We need to go into this game fully concentrated and show our best.”
“Our plan is to close the spaces at the back and try to attack with speed when we win the ball. We need to play the ball quickly and try to go for goal whenever we have a chance,” the former Malta international added.
Having won this U-16 tournament last year, Malta are widely fancied to repeat that success, also on the back of the three points obtained in their first match. Despite their win, Vella said the game against Armenia was not straightforward.
“It was not easy against Armenia. We got an early goal and held on to it. In international matches, I don’t like to rely on individuals but on the collective.
“This team is in the midst of a process and there are still many changes in the pipeline. Certainly, I want to have a look at all the players in the group,” Vella said.