Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Farrugia praises Malta’s resolve and tactical discipline
Mar 27, 2019
Posted in:
General
National Team
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE 2020
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Malta coach Ray Farrugia praised the team’s determination and tactical organisation following the 2-0 defeat to heavyweights Spain in Tuesday’s Euro 2020 Group F qualifier at the National Stadium.
 


Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata scored a goal in each half to hand Spain a deserved 2-0 win but Malta left the stadium with their heads held high, three days after launching this European campaign with a 2-1 victory over Faroe Islands.

 

Farrugia began his post-match press conference with a message of support for his Spanish counterpart Luis Enrique who had to fly back to Spain before the match on Tuesday for family reasons.

 

“First of all, I want to give my support to Spain coach Luis Enrique and his family,” Farrugia said.

 

“I wish that things get better for him because this is more important than a football game.

 

“I spoke to his assistant coach (Robert Moreno) and told him to convey my thoughts to Mr Enrique and his family.”

 

Farrugia said he was not surprised with the way the match unfolded as Spain are known for their slick passing and possession game but lauded his players for their brave effort.

 

“We were playing against one of the best teams in the world,” the Malta coach said.

 

“Although we suffered, the possession was 80 per cent for Spain and 20 per cent for us – I believe it was more or less the same when Spain played Norway last Saturday – I think tactically we were really good.

 

“We could have avoided the first goal. Apart from that, Spain didn’t create a lot of chances. Spain were by far the better team but considering our limitations, today we played very well tactically and I’m happy about that.

 

“There is room for improvement plus the fact that we are introducing more young players. As I told you, in the present moment we will suffer a bit until we get them (young players) going and they understand better what we want from them. But the future looks bright.”

 

Ħamrun Spartans defender Karl Micallef made his Malta debut as a second-half substitute, Birkirkara’s Matthew Guillaumier, who is still only 20, started his second match and Valletta striker Kyrian Nwoko, Hibernians wing-back Joseph Mbong and Gżira United winger Juan Corbalan also retained their place in the initial line-up.

 

OPTIMAL FITNESS LEVELS


When it was put to Farrugia that a positive aspect of Malta’s performances in the qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Spain was the optimal fitness levels of the players, the national coach said this also reflects positively on the work of the local clubs.

 

“Regarding the fitness levels of our players, we also have to give credit to our clubs,” he said.

 

“I take my hat off to them as it shows that the clubs are doing a good job in preparing the players physically.

 

“Once a week, we are also doing a strength and conditioning session for our players and this is helping as well.”

 

Malta will resume their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in June with an away match against Sweden (June 7) followed by the home fixture against Romania three days later.

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