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Squad management will be key for June qualifiers, says Malta coach Mangia

Devis Mangia said that managing the condition of the players will be a crucial factor to attain positive results during the national team’s hectic schedule in the UEFA Nations League next month.

The Malta national teams’ head coach was speaking to the media ahead of the squad’s first training session in preparation for a busy June schedule that will see the national team play a friendly against Venezuela on June 1 and a UEFA Nations League triple-header against San Marino, home and away, as well as a home match against Estonia.

“Today is the first day that the whole group of players will be training together with the exception of Teddy Teuma and James Brown who have yet to arrive from their clubs,” Mangia said.

“To be honest, I expected a better physical condition of the players and we will be working constantly with the medical staff in the coming days to try and improve the physical situation of the players.

“Unfortunately, we have some players that since the end of the season they have yet to attend a training session with us. The fact that some players were forced to stop for a long spell and didn’t play the final matches of the season didn’t help.

“Now it’s time to speak to the medical staff to see how we can help to lift the physical condition of the team as we have a testing month of matches coming up.”

At the moment, Mangia has some key players for the national team who are still recovering from injury, such as Birkirkara duo Luke Montebello and Cain Attard, as well as Bjorn Kristensen, of Hibernians and Gżira United’s Steve Pisani.

The Malta coach said that it will be interesting to see how they can manage four matches in one international window, but he said that it’s clear that they will have to make good use of the squad to ensure they can go through with the best results possible.

“We need to be very diligent in the selection of players,” Mangia said.

“Starting with the friendly against Venezuela, we need to see who are the players that would be beneficial for them to play and who would be better to be omitted and just continue to train. This has to be done to ensure that we protect the whole group of players for what promises to be a testing month for us.

“We are going to play against San Marino, who are in more or less the same physical situation like us as their season has just concluded. But on the other hand, we will also play against Estonia who are in the middle of their season so they will be at the peak of their consideration, so there are a lot of considerations to make.

“So it’s going to be important how we plan day by day and match by match and make sure that we take the right decisions.”

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