Malta Football Association
NEWS:
‘The players are focused and well-prepared’
Nov 13, 2020
Posted in:
General
National Team
WC 2022 QUALIFIERS
Malta coach Devis Mangia. PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Malta coach Devis Mangia. PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

National coach Devis Mangia is confident that Malta are approaching Saturday’s UEFA Nations League Group D1 match against Andorra with the right mindset as they strive to improve on their performance in last month’s goalless stalemate.


“I believe that we have done a good job,” Mangia said of his team’s preparations. “We know what we have to do, it’s important to be focused and passionate. We must try to play our football. In Andorra, we did some mistakes from a technical point of view... we must play fast and avoid technical mistkaes. The players are focused and well-prepared for the game.”

 

Malta head into the home clash with Andorra on the back of a 3-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein. Mangia expects another tough test against the Andorrans who opted for a cautious approach in the away match but he struck an upbeat note.

 

“Usually that is their (Andorra’s) footballing idea but it’s good if we push a team to stay back and we control the game, it will be a good signal,” Mangia, who has steered Malta to five consecutive positive results, said. “The difference is that we have to find more solutions

 

“They have had two draws in this group, but when they played at home against Faroe Islands, they were close to gaining a draw... the game was difficult for Faroe. That is their style. We have to find a solution.

 

“I’m sure that in terms of attitude, apporoach and performance, we will have a good game.”

 

Malta have now kept a clean sheet in four consecutive matches. For tomorrow’s match, Mangia must make do without Gżira United defender Steve Borg, suspended, and Zach Muscat, who plays for Casia Pia AC in Portugal.

 

CLEAN SHEETS

 

Asked about the team’s defensive performances and if the absence of Borg and Muscat will have a negative impact, Mangia replied: “We did a very good job in the defensive phase as a team because only one department is not enough to do a good job. We work well with 11 players. 

 

“In any case, we will play with 11 players for this match, Granted, we are missing some players and I’d be happier if I have all the players at my disposal. However, I’m sure that all the players will be focused on our target and I’m sure they will produce a good performance.”

 

With two matches remaining, Malta are second in Group D1 on five points, five behind leaders Faroe Islands – our opponents in the final UNL matchon Tuesday. Mathematically, top spot in the group is up for grabs and in this context, tomorrow’s match is crucial for Malta but Mangia has backed his players to handle the match in the best way possible.

 

“We work in good way,” the Italian said. “I have intelligent players, there is not too much to say, they know what we did well (against Andorra), what we didn’t do so well, what we must do and what we must avoid because the most important thing is the approach.

 

“I don’t want to put any pressure, we have to play our game and focus on the pitch and our football, not about other things.”

 

Mangia has added Birkirkara forward Luke Montebello and Gżira United wing-back Dexter Xuereb to the squad for the UNL matches against Andorra and Faroe Islands. The coach will serve a one-match touchline ban after receiving two yellow cards in the previous games.

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