National Teams

Malta’s Head Coach Michele Marcolini Previews Crucial Match Against Greece

Published: 10-06-2024 14:50

In a press conference held ahead of Malta's clash with Greece at the Grodig Stadium in Austria, national team head coach Michele Marcolini outlined his plans and addressed key issues facing his team. The match, scheduled for tomorrow, serves as a crucial test for Malta as they gear up for the upcoming Nations League.

Reflecting on recent setbacks
Marcolini addressed the disappointing performance in their last outing against Czechia. "We need to now turn the anger into a reaction and focus on tomorrow's game," he asserted, emphasizing the importance of learning from past mistakes. He pointed to specific errors and wrong choices made during the Czechia game, underscoring the necessity for improvement. "We were well prepared for the last game but were not able to show our work on the pitch," he said, highlighting the need for a better execution against Greece.

Changes in the Lineup
Acknowledging the long and taxing season, Marcolini announced his intention to rotate the squad. "I will be changing and giving space to those players that I think deserve it after the hard work shown during training," he revealed. Key players Pepe and Steve Borg will miss the game due to unavailability and injury concerns, respectively. "Pepe is not available, and Steve Borg is feeling pain, so we will not risk him," Marcolini confirmed. He plans to make 4 or 5 changes to address fatigue and to provide opportunities for other players, with an eye on future competitions, particularly the Nations League.

The Challenge Ahead
Discussing the opposition, Marcolini acknowledged the strength of the Greek team. "Greece are a very strong team. They have lost the possibility to play in the Euros after penalties against Georgia and put in an amazing performance against Germany, losing at the last minute," he noted. While he admitted that Greece is less physical than Czechia, he praised their technical skills, aggressiveness, and compactness. "We suffered from the physicality of Czechia as they have 5 or 6 players taller than 1.90m, but Greece are very technical, aggressive, and very compact."

Focusing on Malta's Style
Despite the challenges, Marcolini stressed the importance of focusing on Malta's own style of play. "We need to focus on our style of play and will to continue to show that we are moving forward even if the last game stopped our growth," he said. He emphasized the need to turn the team’s frustration into a positive force on the pitch. "We need to use the anger and frustration, take it with us in tomorrow's game against Greece, and give an answer on the pitch."

Muscat urges accountability and determination before Greece match
Defender Zach Muscat stressed the importance of reflection and accountability following their recent setback. "We have to contemplate and analyze the upset of the last game and take responsibility," Muscat stated, highlighting the team's commitment to learning from their mistakes. He emphasized the need to channel their anger and frustration positively, using it as motivation for the upcoming match against Greece. "We need to use the anger and frustration, take it with us in tomorrow's game against Greece, and give an answer on the pitch."

Reflecting on their previous encounter with Greece two years ago, National Team player Zach Muscat acknowledged that both teams have evolved. "They are building something new; however, we are also focused on the Nations League. This is not just a friendly but also a good test of preparation for next September," he stated, highlighting the dual purpose of the match.

Malta plays an international friendly match against Greece on Tuesday 11th June at the Grodig stadium in Austria (kick-off 18:00)