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‘Coach change was needed to revive Sirens’ fortunes’ says team manager

Sirens forward Samba Tounkara eyes an opening in the Gudja defence. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Sirens FC’s decision to part ways with coach Steve D’Amato and appoint Giovanni Tedesco was needed to rejuvenate the St Paul’s Bay side season after a rather disappointing start to the season, team manager Gilbert Camilleri said yesterday.

On Monday, Sirens FC surprised many football pundits with the decision to sack D’Amato as first-team coach particularly after the St Paul’s Bay outfit brushed aside Gudja 3-1 and had managed to upset Premier League title challengers Hibernians (1-0) and Gżira (1-0) in recent weeks.

The win against Gudja United has lifted Sirens up to 11th in the standings on 15 points, three clear of the relegation zone.

Contacted by the Times of Malta yesterday to delve on the reasons behind the decision to relieve D’Amato from his duties as first team coach, Camilleri said that the matter had been discussed by the club committee for over a week.

“It was not a decision that was taken overnight,” Camilleri said.

“The club committee has been meeting to discuss the matter for the whole week and we decided that a change in first-team coach is needed to turn the team’s fortunes,” added Camilleri who refused to delve further on the matter.

Giovanni Tedesco was identified as the overwhelming favourite for the job after the Italian returned to Malta in the past few days after a very short stint in the United Arab Emirates with Al Bataeh.

Camilleri said that he believes that Tedesco is without doubt a very experienced coach who in his opinion, was the right man for the job.

“I must admit that I have great affection towards Giovanni Tedesco,” the Sirens team manager said.

“I see him as an excellent coach and he is also very disciplined, something that we felt we needed at this time of the season. I’m sure that with his tactical nous, leadership and experience he can help us attain the goals we have set for at the start of the season.”

During the summer, Sirens have bolstered their squad with a number of acquisitions ahead of their debut in European football which saw them go out of the Europa League after a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat to CSKA Sofia in the Europa League.

Still, the team has failed to show any form of consistency throughout the season and Camilleri said that they have already started discussion with Tedesco on possible reinforcements during the January transfer window.

“The January transfer window is just a few weeks a way and for us is a perfect opportunity to strengthen the team in areas we fill that need to be addressed,” Camilleri said.

“The club committee is in constant dialogue with the coach who is analysing the squad and we see were we can bring in players to increase competition. This stance was agreed right from the start and we will look at it in the coming days.”

The first part of the 2020-21 season has provided little cheer to Sirens as the St Paul’s Bay side have struggled to repeat the consistent performances of last season that saw them attain an historic qualification to European football.

Still given the close nature of this year’s championship, the St Paul’s Bay side is currently just seven points adrift an automatic berth to European football and Camilleri is confident that Sirens are capable of recovering lost ground.

“Our position in the standings may not look too promise for our aspirations of repeating last year’s feat of qualifying for European football,” Camilleri said.

“But there is still a long way to go. I have every confidence with the group of players that we have and if we manage to bring in the reinforcements needed, I am sure that we will be able to repeat last year’s achievement.

“Added to that we are also eyeing a strong run in the FA Trophy, so everything is still in our hands. We just need to believe in our ability.”

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