Malta Football Association
Malta coach Mangia expects open game against Latvia
Oct 12, 2020
Posted in:
National Team
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

Malta will play their second away UEFA Nations League match in the space of four days as they meet Latvia at the Daugava Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 18.00).

In their last outing, the national team featured in a goalless draw against a defence-minded Andorra team despite enjoying more possession. Devis Mangia, the Head Coach of the National Teams, expects a different game against Latvia with the two teams having played a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium last month.


“I think this will be a different game (compared to Andorra),” Mangia told the pre-match press conference.


“Latvia are a team that play open football, they have a differet philosophy. They also play a direct attacking game at times but generally they try to play football. Thus, I anticipate a more open game, different from the one in Andorra.”


Latvia have three points after three consecutive draws, one ahead of Malta.


Malta produced a very positive display in the home match and Mangia is backing his team to emulate that performance. “We played a good game at home,” Mangia said. “We will try to do the same tomorrow. We are aware that Latvia have a good team with individual players who have a good level but in Malta we showed that we can play.


“Granted, there is quite a significant difference between Latvia (137) and Malta (186) in the FIFA rankings but in Malta we showed that we can compete.”




The Malta coach is hopeful that the team will translate their possession into more clearcut chances against Latvia but stressed that these are the first few months of a long-term technical project.


“We have just started a project but the first steps are good because if we have had good possession means that we are doing something positive,” Mangia said.


“It is clear that in the final third of the pitch we perhaps need to find different situations against teams like Andorra who concentrate on defending but it’s a step-by-step process. I don’t like to speak about individual departments... it’s a question of finding the solutions not only with the players who play up front but with the entire team.


“Perhaps, until a few months ago, we didn’t think about having the possibility of enjoying this kind of possession and to push the opposing team in their half during games. Now we have to work to improve on this.”


For the match against Latvia, who drew 1-1 away to Faroe Islands last Saturday, Mangia welcomes back in the fray ─Žamrun Spartans midfielder Matthew Guillaumier who served a one-match in the Andorra stalemate.




Goalkeeper Henry Bonello, who turns 32 on Tuesday, spoke positively about the team’s playing philosophy and their positive attitude.


“As a team, we are trying to play positive football and it showed in our recent matches,” Bonello said.


“In the game against Andorra, I believe that we could have gained a better result. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that the match ended in a draw but it is a positive sign that we as national team all felt that we could have obtained a better result.”

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