The Malta’s Under-21 team face a very strong Slovakia side in Nitra on Tuesday (kick-off: 16.30)
for their UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C Qualifier, as they aim to build upon the quality performance three days before in Alytus in a narrow 2-1 defeat against Lithuania.
The team executed one final session yesterday evening as spirits remain high ahead of the match albeit against a daunting side, boasting quality players like midfielder Martin Svidersky who plays his trade with the U-23 side of Manchester United.
Coach Gilbert Agius spoke ahead of this match at the Stadion pod Zoborom in Nitra, mindful this will be a tough match against a very well organised and physical side looking to bounce from the 3-2 defeat they suffered against Spain last week.
“Technically, our opponents here on Tuesday are very strong,” coach Agius explained.
“We will be looking to maintain the momentum gained from our outing in Lithuania.
“I am positive about my players, but we have to perform to perfection and do our best throughout the 90 minutes on Tuesday.
“We are hopeful to return back home with a commendable performance and a positive result.
Coach Agius remarked that it boils down to performing well and giving their hundred per cent during the 90 minutes today “if there is belief we maintain a chance to secure a positive result”.
Floriana wingback Aleandro Garzia, who suffered a slight injury against Lithuania is a doubt for Tuesday’s game, however, Agius explained that they are currently monitoring the player’s progress.
“The Floriana player (Garzia) is making good progress in his recovery as he is nursing an injury from last match, on Sunday and during this pre-Match training session, he has performed well with the rest of the group,” Agius said.
“We will keep monitoring his progress ahead of final decision on whether he will be included or not for this match on Tuesday.”
Karl Mohnani is said to be his possible replacement in right wing-back after the Melita defender came in strong as a 57th minute substitute in Lithuania.
Regarding the return to the Malta U-21 team of versatile forward Alex Satariano, coach Agius maintained that the Frosinone striker has given a profound boost to all the camp.
“His presence also during training in the past few days could be felt, his personality and eagerness to work even harder and keep raising his standards has been noticed and truly inspiring also for the rest of the group,” Agius said.
Malta could be heading out to play in an offensive 3-4-3 formation albeit against this strong side with Satariano joining Mattia Veselji and Jake Engerer up front.
Coach Agius highlighted that: “We always try and maintain same tactical shape, the only change is in personnel we have at our disposal.”
“We have looked into the physical and mental attitude of the players during this final training session upon decision-making on the starting eleven come Tuesday”.