Malta Football Association
Mangia eyes further improvement in Kosovo friendly
Jun 3, 2021
Posted in:
National Team

On Friday the Malta National Team face Kosovo in final friendly match at the tail end of this hectic training camp in Austria.

Head Coach Devis Mangia admitted that Kazakhstan friendly cancellation created some problems as initial plans had to be changed significantly.


“My idea for Friday’s match is not to make a complete overhaul of my team, do not expect six to eight changes, the commitment of my players in training was superb, I have almost a full squad to pick from, only Enrico Pepe and possibly Steve Pisani will be out, but the rest of my players will be all guns blazing to bounce back from Sunday’s friendly defeat against Northern Ireland.


Mangia added that his focus will once again be on the performance, that will trigger the result if the team over the 90 minutes on Friday perform and improve on the mistakes in previous match.


“This coming match will be a good possibility to give some players the chance to show their skills, some new faces could start, but that decision will be taken few hours before kick-off”, Mangia affirmed.


Malta National Team Head Coach also stressed that that the match on Friday will be one important step for some to shine in their inspiration to start a career abroad.




Mangia admitted that Friday’s opponents are a very tough nut to crack, the value of Kosovo is very well documented.


“No matter what, if we work as a team, I’m sure my players will achieve, I have full trust in this crop of individuals, I am pretty confident on Friday they will do a fantastic job for their country, but also to showcase their abilities in their pursue to step up their careers”.


Previous friendly


Northern Ireland match was analysed in detail, the physical condition and in situations of non-possession the team must improve, Mangia added.


COVID situation


“We’ve lost eight months in less than two years due to pandemic situation, that is a big problem, we must be fine from a physical point of view to compete at this level”, Devis Mangia concluded.


Friday could be a milestone for captain Andrei Agius with his 100th cap proudly wearing the National Team shirt if called upon to feature for this game.


The Hibernians defender wanted to thank all the coaches at National Team level helping him to improve year after year to achieve this remarkable feat.


He highlighted however that regardless of his individual achievements, this team is not about individuals but about the group, the main focus is Friday’s match, but if he takes part on Friday, he admitted would be something fantastic to represent Malta for the 100th time.


Agius admitted that notwithstanding the hard work they have executed in the past weeks of preparation prior to this training camp, the lack of game intensity was a big issue for himself and the rest of the players against Northern Ireland.


No matter what the outcome on Friday will be, Agius acknowledged the recent improvement to the whole set-up.


“So many things have changed in the last few months, the President, the new coaching team have injected fresher ideas that we’re trying to adopt to always raise our level of performance during matches.


“We are playing more offensively, not sitting back waiting our opponents, the new mentality this coach is trying to instil is something we’re enjoying and going forward will surely reap benefits”.


About his National Team career, Andrei Agius admitted playing at Wembley Stadium against England was the best moment so far, about the opponents on Friday he stressed this will be a different match from the one on Sunday.


“Northern Ireland play direct football, whereas our opponents on Friday keep more ball possession, they are more skilful and try to play between the lines, we just hope this second competitive match will result in a better performance and possibly go back home with a good result”, Andrei Agius concluded.

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