Malta national team coach Devis Mangia is hoping that Malta can maintain the momentum gained from its win against Cyprus to pull off another upset in tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Mangia insisted that Malta would need to be patient in order to achieve a result. “We need to be patient, play our game and keep our concentration high.”
The national team heads into tonight’s match buoyed up by a 3-0 win against Cyprus in midweek, which saw the team bag three points in what was the country’s first-ever world cup qualifier win.
Mangia acknowledged that Slovenia would be tough opponents, adding however that he was expecting his team to continue its run of form.
Reflecting on the Cyprus match, the coach said Malta had played well and because of that, made the job look simpler than it was.
He pointed out that most of Cyprus’ opportunities in the game had come from set pieces, which he said would always pose a danger. Tonight was no different, he said.
He emphasised the dangers posed by opposing teams from set pieces
Cain Attard, who netted a brace against Cyprus, described the electric atmosphere in the dressing room after the match but insisted that the players were well aware that they now needed to forget about Wednesday and focus on the task at hand.
If the team played according to Mangia’s plan, he said, the result would surely be positive.
He praised Mangia for bringing about a radical change in the team’s mentality. “Being in the national team is always a daunting task, however, if one works hard then he reaps the benefits.”
Tonight’s match at the end of a week of wins for Maltese football. In addition to the national team’s win, Malta’s U-21 side trashed Northern Ireland 4-1, while the U17 team put in an equally dominant display against HNK Rijeka, winning the match 4-2/
Malta’s futsal team also netted two wins, 5-2 against Montenegro and 1-0 against San Marino.