Gilbert Agius has warned his Malta U-21 players that they should put firmly behind them their 4-1 win over Northern Ireland and brace themselves for a much tougher test a Malta U-21 take on Russia in their second UEFA Championship qualifier in Khimki on Tuesday.
The Malta U-21 youngsters head into the match against the Russians in high spirits following their impressive 4-1 win over the Northern Ireland on Friday with Mattia Veselji netting a brace with the other goals coming from Jake Engerer and Ayrton Attard.
“The match against Northern Ireland was a great day for us but it’s important to put it among our memories and focus on the match against Russia,” coach Gilbert Agius told mfa.com.mt.
“There are many aspects that make this match much more difficult. This is our second match in the space of four days and besides that, we had a very long voyage despite the MFA’s best efforts to make it as comfortable as possible.
“On Sunday, we trained at 7.30am in the morning and we left Malta at 11am to arrive in Russia late at night. The players have now rested well but we still have to check the condition of some of them as they are not in the best shape.”
Russia opened their Group C commitments with a heavy 4-1 defeat to Spain and will certainly look to bounce back in style with victory over Malta.
“Russia are a completely different kind of opponents to Northern Ireland… they are far more stronger,” Agius said.
“We have seen their videos and analysed them well to make sure that we are prepared in the best possible way for the match.
“No doubt, the match will be a different experience for the players and we will do the best we can to try and get the best possible result.”