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Watch: Match against Hibernians underlined Valletta’s progress says coach Toze

Valletta midfielder Ivan Curjuric anticipates Jurgen Degabriele, of Hibernians. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Valletta coach Jose Antonio Cardoso Mendes was delighted with his team’s performance against Hibernians on Sunday and said that the team is moving closer to show the identity of football he wants to see his players play.

The Citizens fought back from going down to a Jake Grech’s opener in the first half to clinch a merited point at the death courtesy of Shaun Dimech’s equaliser.

The result left Valletta sharing the fourth spot with their neighbouring rivals Floriana on ten points, seven adrift of leaders Hibernians.

“Valletta FC played a very good game against Hibernians and I am really satisfied with my players’ attitude,” Cardoso Mendes, aka Toze, told the Times of Malta.

“I was particularly pleased with the reaction of the players in the second half.

“The way we played, moving the ball very fast and our positioning was very good. We tried to put pressure on Hibernians, and it’s clear that in these situations you leave space for your opponents and Hibs had some chances.

“But to be honest in the second half I felt that we dominated the game with a very good style of football and fully deserved to return home with a point in the bag.

“I would like to thank our supporters who did a very good job supporting us in the second half as they pushed the team to continue to believe in themselves and I am happy to get a valuable result also for them.”

The Valletta coach said that now the team must look forward and his main goal is to see his team showing more consistency.

“It’s important that we are more consistent in both our performances and the results,” the Portuguese coach said.

“The championship is still long and there are a lot of tough matches coming up.

“We cannot live on what we did before. Our goal has to be to continue improving every single day.”

On his part, Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra heaped praise on Valletta and said that they faced a very good side who are passing from a very positive patch, but admitted that his team should have won the match if they were more focused.

“We played against a very good team,” the Italian coach said.

“Valletta FC were very dynamic and made it hard for us so a point could be seen as a good result for us.

“The match has shown that we still have a lot of work to do to improve in some areas of the pitch.

“I was disappointed with our defending in their goal. We had so many defenders in the area and we still failed to stop their forward from shooting at goal and that is not good enough.

“We also had so many scoring chances to kill them off but we failed to take them and that cost us. I expect much more from my players and I want my team to be more aggressive and clinical in front of goal.

“But there is still time to improve. The championship is still long and our focus has to be on our match and ensure we continue to grow as a team.”

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