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Hard work, continuity key for new Malta national teams’ head coach Marcolini

Michele Marcolini said he is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be appointed as Malta national teams’ head coach and said that he is keen to build on the excellent work done by his predecessor Devis Mangia.

The former Chievo Verona coach was making his first appearance in front of the Maltese media since he was announced in his new job and said that the hallmarks of his football philosophy are teamwork and hard work.

“I am really thrilled to have been approached by MFA president Bjorn Vassallo and offered the job of Malta national teams’ head coach,” Marcolini said.

“I am aware that I have been set some important objectives by the association and for me, it is a fascinating challenge to try and fulfil these goals.

“For me, having a solid human relationship with my players is key so that I can implement my football idea which is based on aggressivity and fighting for a shared objective.

“I have watched several matches of the national teams and it’s no secret that they have a clear playing philosophy and are well-organised on the pitch.

“I am not planning to make huge tactical twists as the team looks well set up and we can build on the excellent work done by my predecessor Devis Mangia.

“I am looking forward to watch every match from the Premier League next month and have a better idea of which players can contribute to our cause.”

Marcolini faces a tough start to his tenure as national teams’ head coach as he will make his first appearance when the national team kicks off their Euro 2024 qualifiers in March with an away trip to Northern Macedonia before hosting Italy at the National Stadium.

“I know that it’s going to be a tough start but I will try and prepare the team in the best possible way to make sure we start the qualification campaign in the best possible way,” Marcolini said.

“In the last few years, the Maltese national teams have made some important strides forward and our commitment is to maintain this upward trend.

“No doubt, the Euro 2024 qualifiers will be a good opportunity to help the team continue to grow and reach higher levels of performances. We know that we are facing some very tough teams like Italy, England and Ukraine, and while we will respect every team the group, at the same time we need to have the intent of trying to create problems to all the teams.

“At the end of the day, we want that all Maltese fans will be proud of the achievements of the national team.

“Once the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign will finish; we will put all our energy on the next Nations League where our goal will be promotion to League C.”

Marcolini has spent the majority of his coaching career leading teams in the Italian Serie B and Serie C and has no international experience.

Asked whether he feels that could be a disadvantage to him, Marcolini said: “Honestly, no. I am not concerned because in life there is always a first time. Football remains football at all levels of competition.

“In my football career, I was blessed to have had some important experiences, particularly as a player. For me the most important thing is to give individual attention to all players as once you manage to build a strong bond with the players then it’s easier to implement your football philosophy.

“I have great enthusiasm to start my work and I am just proud to have been given this opportunity by the Maltese football federation.”

Profile

On his part, Malta FA president Bjorn Vassallo said that the MFA’s decision to appoint Marcolini was taken as he fitted perfectly the profile sought by the association.

“When we started our search for national teams’ head coach we wanted a specific profile,” Vassallo said.

“We wanted a young coach who is hard-working and has great motivation to carry out this job. We looked for someone who is conscious of the great responsibilities he has and who boasts a strong personality both in the dug-out as well as the training pitch and Michele fulfilled all these requisites.

“One has to keep in mind that the role of the national teams’ head coach role is not just the

international window, which is only 20 per cent of the role.

“The majority of his work is to develop players from the grassroots to the elite level as well as continuing to build a unique playing philosophy for all the national teams.”

Vassallo said that results hold huge importance and said that promotion in the UEFA Nations League remained their main goal.

“Obviously, the general public wants to see results and if we look back at the last few years we have seen some remarkable progress from our national team,” Vassallo said.

“We came very close to two promotions in the Nations League while we also bagged some prestigious results in the World Cup qualifiers.

“The team’s first appointments are the Euro 2024 qualifiers and in the coming weeks I am planning to hold talks with clubs to  come to an agreement that they can release their players so that they can spend two or three

days with the new national teams’ head coach that will help them to get well accustomed to his methods before the start of the qualifiers.

“Our ultimate objective remains to make another step forward and the main goal remains to try and win promotion in the next edition of the Nations League in 2024.

“We have two years of hard work ahead of us to prepare the team in the best shape to reach our primary goal in two years’ time.”

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