Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra has warned his players not to let the euphoria generated by their impressive win over Floriana distract them from their ultimate goal as the Premier League leaders open their Top Six commitments when they face champions Ħamrun Spartans on Monday.
The BOV Premier League will make its return on the local sporting agenda this weekend after a two-week break due to the national team’s international commitments.
Prior to the stoppage, leaders Hibernians had made the headlines for the right reasons when they reclaimed top spot in the BOV Premier League with an impressive 4-1 win over Floriana that put them two points clear at the top.
Added to that, Floriana’s unexpected 1-0 defeat to Gżira United on Sunday has given the Paolites the opportunity to move five points clear at the top.
However, coach Sanderra has moved quickly to dispel any title talk and said Hibernians had not achieved anything so far.
“It’s important that we quickly put behind us our win against Floriana and be fully focused on the challenges ahead as so far we have achieved anything yet,” Sanderra said.
“There are five matches still to go and everything is yet to be played for. We have to start from scratch, and we need to approach every match fully focused and take it one game at a time.
“We have a difficult start to the third phase with a very difficult match against Ħamrun Spartans and all our focus and determination has to be on this match.
“Against Ħamrun, it’s going to be a very difficult challenge as we are playing against a very strong side who have improved a lot in recent weeks and we need to be at our best if we are to get the right result.
“Ħamrun Spartans is a team that I have a lot of respect for and is full of excellent players so we need to use our head well during the match as it’s going to be a very tough match. We have arrived at a point in the season where every team is desperate for points so that is why it’s important that we do not lower our guard but work even harder if we are to win matches.”
While Hibernians are desperate to strengthen their place at the top of the standings, Ħamrun Spartans too need to pick up points if they are to secure a top-three placing that would guarantee them a return to European football after more than three decades.
The Spartans are currently in fourth place on 35 points, one behind third-placed Gżira United and Birkirkara, who face Gudja United on Monday.
Branko Nisevic, the Ħamrun Spartans coach, is aware of the difficult task awaiting the Spartans when facing Hibernians but said that they need to pick up points from all their remaining matches if they are to secure a place in Europe.
“In this final phase of the championship, every team has something to battle for and no doubt everyone will give everything to pick up points,” Nisevic said.
“Our main goal is to qualify for European football, and we need to collect points from all matches. It’s not going to be easy as Hibernians are the leaders and are coming from a very impressive win over Floriana but we need to believe in ourselves and make sure to give everything we can once we enter the pitch.
“For us, it has been a difficult season with all the problems we endured on the pitch but now it’s time for the players to stand up and show their real quality. I have been positively impressed by the attitude of the players in the last few weeks and I am sure that results will eventually come.
“No doubt a good start in this final part of the season will be a huge shot in the arm for us so it’s important that we take the pitch with the right attitude and determination.”
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