One week after Hibernians’ run in the UEFA Champions League came to an end with a 3-0 aggregate defeat to Irish side Shamrock Rovers, the Paolites are up against Estonian side Levadia Tallinn in the UEFA Conference League on Tuesday (kick-off: 20.00).
Speaking to the Times of Malta, new Hibs coach Andrea Pisanu said he wants his side to leave the pitch without any regrets, even though for the second consecutive fixture, the team is set to be facing an opponent that is in the middle of their season.
“Unfortunately, this is what happens when you play against teams of northern Europe,” Pisanu said.
“(Tallinn) have already played 20 games, so they are in the middle of the season. They are physically in top shape and they are a very good team because they are top in the league, even though they have two games more.
“They are a good team, but we are too. We want to play a big game – we want to try to play our game without wait and there will surely be moments in which we will suffer but we can do it.
“I am a very positive person and I want to transfer this onto the players.
“At the end of the day, it is a game of football – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The important thing for me is that we go out of the pitch without regrets and that you leave everything there.”
Asked about his debut as Hibs coach last week, Pisanu said he found a set of players whom are willing to work hard, and it reflected in the goalless draw away from home they managed to achieve after a 3-0 defeat in the first leg tie.
“I think we played a good game because we were in control and we had a lot of chances especially in the first half,” the Italian coach said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t score, and in the second half, as time passed the players were tired because we used a lot of energy to control the ball. But I was very happy with the performance because they left everything on the pitch, and this is important for me.
“I found a group of players who are very good guys and who want to work so, I’m happy. This is the start towards building our mentality. I know Hibernians are the champions but I’m confident that with work, we can improve more.”
Pisanu’s squad will be boosted with the return of Ferdinando Apap from suspension. Bjorn Kristensen and Andrei Agius remain suspended and will be hoping for a successful run of games for the team in order to let them rejoin the team in Europe this season.
“Fortunately, we don’t have any confirmed injuries. Ferdinando (Apap) will come back after suspension and will play. We have to implement our game and be ready to face our opponent,” Pisanu said.
“We had three players suspended from last season, these players had to work hard and just hope that we move to the next round so that they can play. They already knew that they would have to miss the first few games, so it’s not easy but they are working hard, and they are positive.
“This is especially because they are three players who are leaders of the team – Ferdinando, Bjorn (Kristensen) and Andrei (Agius). But they are training with the others and I’m happy that we have continued to work nonetheless.”
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