The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Euro 2020: Under fire Cosmin Contra wants four wins in the next four matches

Chris Cassar Saturday, 7 September 2019, 13:41 Last update: about 14 days ago

Romania national Cosmin Contra wants his side to win the next four matches, starting with the one against Malta on Sunday, so that his side can still make it to the final phase of the Euro 2020. After the match against Malta, Romania travels to Faroe Islands before two crucial home matches against Norway and Sweden before finishing its commitments with the match away to Spain.

Cosmin Contra was speaking in the press conference on the eve of the match against Malta held at the Romanian FA training grounds at Mogosoaia, 15km to the north of Bucharest's city centre. Cosmin is under fire from the Romanian media for their lack lustre performance against Spain on Thursday.

Cosmin is being heavily criticised for playing with five defenders against Spain when at the start of his campaign at the helm of the team he had stated that he will never play with defenders at the back.

Contra was accused by the Romanian media and former national team players of using a coward approach, a comment which surely did not go down well with the national team manager.

He admitted however that Romania had great difficulties in recovering the ball against Spain and confirmed that he was disappointed that they only came to grips with the situation in the last thirty minutes of the game after reducing the score.

He said that he studied many of Spain's games and decided to opt for five defenders. He said that Spain finds it hard when facing such situations and tried to adopt this system and trying to use the counter breaks.

He said that Spain is a football machine and produces a lot of scoring opportunities if it finds the space. He cited examples of the games they played against Croatia and England in the Nations League last year, even scoring six against Croatia fresh from the World Cup final lost against France. He said that even in the group matches against Norway and Sweden, Spain created some six-seven open scoring chances inside the first thirty minutes, something which did not happen against his side.

A rather irritated Contra hit back at his critics, even refusing to answer two questions from a particular journalist of a local daily. Contra said that he likes to have his teams play like Spain do, "but you have to have the players Spain has to play like that" Conta said.

Contra said that his present squad built on young talent, and even other talented players which will be gradually inserted from the Under-21 national squad, can open a golden era for Romanian football when they gain the necessary international experience.

Contra said that against Malta they have to make e serious approach even though on paper it looks like an easy match. He said that his side has so far always took some time to settle in the game, many a times having to recover the score.

He said that even at Ta' Qali the Maltese held them under pressure for the initial stages, but luckily he said, Romania scored an early goal and the side settled down well to obtain an easy 4-0 win at Ta' Qali last June.

Contra repeated that this is the first of four must win matches Romania will be facing. He said that against Malta he wants a convincing win and possibly a win with a good score, since goal difference can be fundamental in this qualifying group.

He said that Malta are a very organised team especially at the back and that his team will have to have a fluid built up so that they can score an early goal, which is always very important in such matches.

Bad behaviour from supporters can put Romania in trouble

Cosmin Contra even had to face questions about the trouble caused by the Romanian supporters during the match against Spain. The Romanian supporters are being accused of racial chants against Hungary, throwing flares on the field of play, and even two supporters invaded the pitch during the match, apparently trying to attack Spain defender Sergio Ramos.

The Romanian supporters, frankly not new to such unsporting behaviour were even accused of not observing a minute silence before the match, a minute silence in memory of Luis Enrique's daughter who passed away some days ago.

Contra said that he cannot say much on the behaviour of the supporters and said that it will be a pity if they had to play the matches against Norway and Sweden behind closed doors. Romania already received such a punishment in the UEFA Nations League and is expected to be again sanctioned after these incidents. The case and possible sanctions against Romania will be heard on 20 September.

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