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Michael Mifsud is a role model for young players, says Devis Mangia

Michael Mifsud receives a memento from MFA president Bjorn Vassallo. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Malta coach Devis Mangia described Michael Mifsud as a role model for the young Maltese players after the veteran striker marked his final appearance for his country when scoring a record 42nd goal for the national team in a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Mangia, who returned to the Malta national team bench after completing a mandatory quarantine, heaped praise on the 39-year-old forward for the passion he shows towards the Beautiful Game and said that he was a living example for upcoming players.

“Michael Mifsud today showed that he is an example for the young players coming through,” the former Italy U-21 coach said.

“He plays with great passion and determination and it’s clear to see that he really loves what he does and that is a very positive message to transmit to the young players.

“We have many young players who are very talented but to become very good players they need to do the same step that Michael did… to go and play abroad and at a very high level. I hope many young players will follow in the footsteps of Michael..

“The national team is full of talented players and we are giving them the chance to play but it’s up to them to show that they deserve to make that step up in their performance.”

Turning his sights on the match against Liechtenstein, Mangia said that he was pleased with the effort put in by the players and said that it was another important step towards what they are aiming for.

“I was pleased with the overall performance of the team,” Mangia said.

“We kept control of the match for long stretches, even though there were some instances where we committed some small technical mistakes but all in all I was very satisfied with the performance.

“In these matches, it’s important that we give the opportunity to those players who are with us for the first time and I’m pleased to see that they have given us something to think about as they did well.

“The team is passing through a good spell as this was our fifth successive positive result and more importantly our fourth clean sheet. This is a good start and now we turn our focus for our next match against Andorra which is more important.”

Tomorrow, the national team will be looking to keep up the pressure on leaders Faroe Islands when they face Andorra at the National Stadium.

La Vella lesson

Last month, the national team dominated possession in La Vella but struggled to create clear-cut chances and in the end had to settle for a goalless draw.

Mangia said that it was important that the players do not repeat the errors committed  in La Vela if they are to bag their second competitive win.

“We need to learn from the match in Andorra and during the next few days we will sit down with the players to find the best solution,” Mangia said.

“Against Andorra we had a lot of possession but when we entered the final third we lacked any sharpness and didn’t keep the ball well.

“Besides, we cannot take Andorra lightly as they can be very dangerous in counter attacks so we need to stay focused if we are to get the result we are looking for.”

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