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Watch: National team criticism is too harsh, says former Malta striker Andre Schembri

Reiterates need for Maltese players to go playing abroad

Andre Schembri said that coach Devis Mangia and the national team players did not deserve the fierce criticism they received following the heavy defeats to Croatia and Slovakia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that condemned the team to the bottom of Group H.

The former Malta striker, who was part of the team that amassed the record five-point haul in Euro 2008 qualifiers, said that he was positively impressed by the work carried out by Mangia and the national team players and went further to describe this team as the best he ever witnessed since starting following the national team.

“I have been following the national team since 1990 and throughout this period this has been without doubt the most entertaining side we ever had,” Schembri said.

“This has been achieved thanks to the sterling works of the coaches we have. When you are implementing a new football philosophy and you need time to develop.

“One has to remember that we are not used to play this style of football. During my time we rarely practised what we had to do when we had the ball in our feet. For the majority of the time we used to focus on what to do when we don’t have possession.

“The two defeats against Croatia and Slovakia were tough to take but they should not dampen all the good work that has been done.

“We have a national team that is winning on a regular basis and even when played in Russia and were behind I never seen our team putting so much pressure on our opponents.”

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