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Gudja coach Thane Micallef wary of ‘long road ahead’ despite recent wins

Gudja United have been in fine form since the start of the new year, winning both of their Premier League fixtures against relegation rivals Santa Lucia and Sliema Wanderers during the month of January and move five points ahead of Mosta.

Last weekend, a Tensior Gusman goal was enough to see the southerners overcome bottom-placed Sliema Wanderers at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Speaking to the Times of Malta, Gudja coach Thane Micallef said that it is imperative for his side to continue on this winning run because it is a long road ahead.

“It’s very important that we win as many points as we can. Every point we’ve won so far has been important and so are those coming from our next games,” Micallef said.

“However, with these last few wins, it doesn’t mean we’ve done a lot – if one takes into consideration that there are still 12 games to go, that means there are still 36 points at stake and available for every team.

“The number of points we have at this stage is not much better than our previous opponents (Santa Lucia and Sliema), so we’ve got a long road ahead and a lot that needs to be done.”

While the side has relied on the likes of Aidan Friggieri throughout the season,

Micallef’s clan have bolstered the squad with four new signings – Ahinga Selemani, Tatsuro Nagamtsu, Mathias Muchardi and most recently former Valletta midfielder James Arthur.

“I believe that the injection of the new foreign players has helped to improve the level of quality within the team and that apart from quality, we’ve managed to add to the personality when it comes to handling certain moments that are not as easy during the game,” Micallef said.

“I’m happy with the way the club has operated in terms of bringing these players into the squad from the early days of January so that we would have the time to work with them and integrate them within the group. In that way, they could start performing immediately.”

Following the two wins over fellow struggling teams, Gudja face tough opposition in Valletta this weekend for the last match in the month of January.

Added to this there will be matches against Birkirkara and Ħamrun Spartans, before a showdown with Championship Pool hopefuls Balzan, who are currently three points ahead of Micallef’s clan.

However, the latter’s priority is Valletta and sticking to the direction the team has taken since the winter break.

“To be honest, we’re not looking at the third or fourth game in succession as yet,” Micallef explained.

“What we’re doing is taking it game by game and right now, our objective is to prepare as well as we possibly can for the match against Valletta. We know that Valletta is a team made up of many players of a high level so it will be important that we’ll need to be concentrated and go onto the pitch in the best way possible.

“I believe in our squad and I believe that the squad is growing. Even if one were to look at the results and performances before the break, I think the team was already starting to grow and show positive signs.

“We’ve continued to show this in our last two matches and obviously, our aim is that the team continues to grow even in the coming matches, starting on Sunday against Valletta.”


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