The Malta Independent 11 December 2019, Wednesday

Euro 2020: Coach Farrugia to make changes to make defence stronger; Michael Mifsud back in squad

Henry Brincat Monday, 10 June 2019, 13:00 Last update: about 6 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Coach Ray Farrugia will be making some changes to his starting line-up in an effort to make the defence stronger than it was against Sweden last Friday.

On that occasion, the Malta defence conceded two goals which could have been avoided. And they both arrived in the crucial early moments of each half.

Farrugia said yesterday that this evening's game is another difficult game for Malta, especially coming so soon after the Sweden defeat.

He said: "Despite the result, and the mistakes which led to those two goals, I think my boys produced a good number of positives and we have to continue building on them.

"If you take into consideration all games in Europe and around the world, the majority of goals are scored from defensive mistakes.

"This does not mean that I am content with what happened on Friday night. A defeat is always a defeat, but we have to consider the positive side as well for which I am sure everyone agrees that we also managed to create some scoring chances, especially that Effiong header late in the first half when the score was still 1-0."

Farrugia added that the players are now eager to forget the Sweden result and concentrate solely on this evening's match against Romania. "Everyone could see that even mentally, they are well prepared. Having suffered that early goal, they rose to the occasion admirably and also went close to scoring an equaliser late in the half," he said.

Farrugia is adamant in saying that he is building a team for the future. "We have played 11 matches so far and in certain matches, as I have said previously, we will be going to suffer. But I am sure that in future it will be a different story.

"This is because the youngsters we are introducing are gaining a lot of experience which will help them in their development for the future. I am building a solid base which will be useful to my successor as national team mentor," he said, adding that the group has to continue learning after such a defeat against Sweden.

Asked whether he will be keeping his formation or make some changes to the side that started against Sweden, Farrugia said: "I will be making some changes. I will be having four players at the back in an effort to try and avoid conceding goals which can be avoided and also at an early stage of the match," added Farrugia.

The national coach went on to say that Steve Borg, who received a knock against Sweden, was responding well to treatment. "He was quite well yesterday, but we still have to assess his condition, though we are hopeful he will be available. The good news is that veteran striker Michael Mifsud is now back in the squad after missing the Sweden match through injury. Also missing once again will be Matthew Guillaumier and Jonathan Caruana who have not recovered from their injuries. I will only be making use of players who are 100 per cent fit," said Farrugia.

The coach said the group had seen Romania in action on several occasions. "We are aware that they play similarly to Spain and that should be the difference between last Friday's opponents and those of this evening.

Also addressing the press was Gzira United midfielder Juan Corbolan who has made a big impact both on his club team and the national team this season.

He said: "In this relatively short experience with the national team (he has 7 caps - his first was against Kosovo away in the UEFA Nations League), I can say that I have been welcomed by all, that is players, coaches and all the others and I am very happy to be helped by the more experienced players in the squad.

"I think I have had a very good season with Gzira United, and also with the national team. I am determined to continue giving my all also to the national team," he said. 
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