Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra hailed his team’s resilience as the Italian coach celebrated his 100th match at the helm of the Paola club when leading his side to a come-from-behind victory over Gżira United last weekend.
The Paolites were soon on the backfoot when they found themselves a goal down when Maxuell headed Gżira United ahead after six minutes of play.
But gradually Hibernians stepped up their gear and two goals from Jurgen Degabriele and another from the in-form Jake Grech propelled them to a 3-1 win to strengthen their top status in the standings.
“It was a great team performance,” Sanderra told the Times of Malta.
“The match took a difficult path immediately when we found ourselves a goal behind early on. But the team never lost its equilibrium and our persistence and determination was in the end rewarded.
“I have to heap praise on the players who kept their composure and refused to panic and managed to interpret the game in the best possible way.
“On a personal note I was pleased to celebrate my 100th Premier League match in Malta with a win and I only have words of gratitude for the support Hibernians gave me in the last four years and I fully determined to help the club achieve the targets it has set this season.”
The win was a huge psychological boost for the Paolites who have seen their lead at the top of the Premier League standings increase to seven points over reigning champions Ħamrun Spartans.
However, Sanderra said that he doesn’t want his players to look at the standings as there is still a long way to go and the team has not achieved anything so far.
“It was great to win against Gżira but nothing has been achieved so far,” Sanderra said.
“We are still at the starting point of our race and we need to push on now. I will be very angry if we start looking at the standings as we have not even reached the half way point of the season and there are a lot of matches still to be played.
“Our mindset has to try and continue to improve as a team and make sure we are ready for our next match against Gudja which will prove to be a very tricky match for us. In my opinion, Gudja United are a very good team and surely deserve to have much more points than what they have at the moment.
“So, the key for us is to be fully focused on our next match.”
Asked how he saw the Hibernians squad develop during his time at the club, Sanderra said that he has been pleased with the progress shown by the block of Maltese players who over the years have turned out to be an integral part of the first team.
“Here at Hibernians we are blessed to have a group of Maltese players who have turned out to be very important for the club,” Sanderra said.
“They have shown a lot of progress over the years and that has certainly boosted the team’s competitiveness. There were changes in our overseas line-up over the years, but I have to say that this year’s foreigners have gelled well with the rest of the squad and that has made us a strong group.
“But the thing that I love most is that all the players have great passion for the game and the club and that can help us to reach a higher level of performance.”