Malta Football Association
Ghedin has ‘good feeling’ about Malta team
Mar 25, 2017
Posted in:
National Team
Malta coach Pietro Ghedin.
Malta coach Pietro Ghedin.

National coach Pietro Ghedin emphasised the importance of staying together and united as he addressed a well-attended news conference ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at the National Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 8.45pm).

While admitting that Malta face a tall order to open their Group F account against a strong Slovakia team chasing qualification to the World Cup finals in Russia, Ghedin is backing his players to rise to the occasion.


“We are facing a strong team but every time we are playing against difficult opponents,” Ghedin said.


“If we don’t stay compact it will be very hard for us to achieve a good result but I believe in my team at this moment. Even today we had a good training session and everybody is close and willing to do their best.


“We need to be like a family. If we are not like a family, we can’t achieve a positive result but I have a very good feeling about my players.


“I’ve spoken many times with them this week. We worked a lot, we talked about the system, we talked about the position, everybody knows what they have to do.


“I hope all the players are in a good condition. They have told me that they feel well and want to play.


“We have 20 players and of course only 11 are going to play. We can make only three changes but all the players need to support each other.”


Ghedin has some key players missing as Hibs defender Andrei Agius and Valletta defender Jonathan Caruana are both suspended while Valletta midfielder Rowen Muscat is sidelined with injury.


Despite these absences, Ghedin said he was relaxed about the situation because he has a good squad at his disposal which makes him optimistic that Malta can cut a good figure against Slovakia, who are third in Group F on six points.


The Italian coach has also rung the changes, handing a recall to the likes of Balzan midfielder Ryan Fenech, and Gżira United duo Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Jacob Borg while Valletta striker Luke Montebello has also been included in the final 20-man squad and is in contention to earn his first cap for Malta.


Ghedin has also promoted Birkirkara flank defender Cain Attard on the back of his fine showings in training as well as in a friendly match between the players in the senior squad in midweek.


The idea to create a ‘B’ squad has been well received and Ghedin declared himself pleased with the attitude and commitment of the players in both the senior and B squads, adding that it’s important to have a large pool of players to increase competition for places.


“You can’t take your place in the national squad for granted,” Ghedin said.


The Malta coach said that, as in every job, he feels under pressure to do well and lead Malta to a positive result in tomorrow’s qualifier against Slovakia but he insisted that he wouldn’t have it any different.

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