Newly-appointed Hibernians FC coach Andrea Pisanu is urging his players to believe in themselves as the Paolites look to defy the odds and try to overturn a three-goal deficit against Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers in the Champions League second leg on Tuesday tonight (kick-off: 8pm).
The Malta champions have a huge task on their hands to prolong their stay in UEFA’s elite club competition following last week’s disappointing 3-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in Ireland.
The team’s build-up for the match has been not short of drama after the sudden news last Friday of Stefano Sanderra’s departure as first-team coach.
The club took little time to find a replacement as they quickly approached Pisanu who accepted their offer to take over the reins of the team.
“I was not expecting it to be honest,” Pisanu told the Times of Malta.
“To be honest, I had decided to wait a bit for the right offer. But when Hibs came calling I couldn’t turn it down. This is a great challenge for me. They are a club with a winning mentality and I am relishing this opportunity.
“It took me less than ten minutes to agree terms with the club. I was fascinated by the club’s mentality and vision for the future and hopefully I can help them to achieve their objectives. I am blessed to have a group of players who hold great values and that is very important for me. I am really looking forward for this challenge.”
Pisanu could not have been given a tougher debut when he leads Hibernians against
Shamrock Rovers, looking to overturn a first-leg 3-0 defeat. But Pisanu has no plans to throw in the towel and has urged his players to believe in their ability if they are to turn the tie in their favour.
“The players need to believe in themselves,” Pisanu said.
“Shamrock Rovers are a very good side and they showed it in the first leg. But last week Hibernians were superior in the second half and had some situations went in their favour, the result could have been different.
“I am sure that Shamrock Rovers will be coming here with a very clear plan. They will not take any risks as they are in a comfortable position having a three-goal advantage. But if we manage to find an early goal, things could turn quickly.
“It’s all about how we approach the game. I want my players to take a positive approach and try and push forward in search of a goal. It’s important that we are not passive. We need to push forward with conviction and be bold enough to take some risks.
“Everything will depend on us and how the game will pan out. It’s a very difficult challenge for us but we need to do everything in our power to try and overturn the tie in our favour.”
Pisanu will again have some key players missing for today’s match as defenders Andrei Agius and Ferdinando Apap as well as team skipper Bjorn Kristensen are forced to sit out of the match due to suspension.
Kurt Shaw is still out of the equation as he continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.