Malta Football Association
Malta U-21 coach upbeat despite steep road
Nov 17, 2018
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Malta Under-21 team coach Silvio Vella spoke following a harsh 2-0 friendly defeat with Albania on Friday night for his new look team.

In this first Albania friendly, the young Malta team felt aggrieved by some decisions taken by the Albanian referee who was appointed to control the match.


While Malta Under-21 coach Silvio Vella felt that some key refereeing decisions went against our team, he urged his players to learn from the experience and look ahead to the next game.


“We were not happy about some of the refereeing decisions but we must forget about this game, take the positives from it and move on," Vella said.


"This is a new team, last night we kept our discipline, had our good share of posession and at times moved the ball well forward and also created some good chances.


“However, we have to be more clinical in front of goal as,at this level, you don’t get plenty of chances to find the net... hence its our aim to be more accurate."


Vella spoke about his group of players as for most of them this was their first opportunity to shine for Malta at this level.


“All debutants did well in the circumstances. Our players are motivated to play and raise their standards but our concern is that they are not being given enough playing time with their respective clubs."


For ─Žamrun's Bradley Schembri yesterday was his first time wearing a Malta shirt. even at youth level.


Vella added, “it was like a baptism of fire for Bradley and, although there is room for improvement, he did well. I’m also delighted with the performance of the three other debutants who started the game... Connor Zammit had a good performance on the left flank while Nicholas Pulis and Jamie Zerafa also had a decent game.


Meanwhile, Vella is still contemplating some changes for the second Albania friendly on Monday.


“I would like to make some changes but first and foremost I want to make sure we don’t weaken the balance of our team," he said.


“This group of players are here to continue enhancing their development and its my aim to work with them as I did with others recently who are now relishing their opportunity at senior level.


“These players need minutes of action at this high level, we see what the future holds, but albeit all the difficulties  and the fact last night was first opportunity for this group to play together, we must keep working relentlessly up till March when we kick off our duties for next competition."


The morning after the match it was training again on Saturday for this group of players with those who started the match on Friday doing some recovery with physical coach Karl Attard, and a four-against-four match led by assistant coach Noel Turner for the players who started on the bench.


Goalkeepers coach Simon Agius worked on both keepers as Andreas Vella also had a positive performance, with reserve keeper in Friday's friendly Timmy Aquilina waiting for his opportunity to make his mark at this level representing his country.


On Sunday morning the Malta U21 contingent moves from Durres to Skoeder prior to second and final Albania U21 friendly on Monday night.

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