Anastasiadis believes in players, Kanerva expecting interesting match
Ahead of the upcoming UEFA Nations League duel in Athens, Greek national team manager Angelos Anastasiadis wants this to be a new beginning, while opposing head coach Markku Kanerva thinks the opponents will make an improvement.
In October, Greece travelled to Finland looking to get the UEFA Nations League campaign back on track, but the match turned out to be the last with Michael Skibbe at the helm. The lacklustre, bitter 0:2 defeat in Tampere has left the Finns boasting a large six point advantage in first place of Group 2 in League C, and they’re yet to concede a single goal in four games.
Angelos Anastasiadis, who was confirmed as the Ethniki Omada head coach this week, shared his expectations in the press-conference:
Thoughts on the match against Finland: “The outcome of this match depends completely on how we play. I know our players well and my knowledge of their capabilities has grown over the past few days. I understand their potential. May God assist them tomorrow. They have the talent and the desire, and we’ll see what happens on the pitch.”
Pressure on achieving a positive result: “We are the Greek national team. This is a game which we simply have to win. We need to prove to ourselves that we’re capable of playing at a different level in comparison to previous matches. Everything depends on us, and this is the message which I want to convey to the players. The guys have the desire and I hope that tomorrow will be the start of a new beginning.”
What needs to be changed from the first game with the Finns: “I am not worried about what happened in the past, I’m only focused on the future. No one judges you on the past. For example, if you play well in the morning, but then perform poorly in the evening, people will only remember the evening match. I’m happy that the players have reacted in the right manner. If I didn’t believe in them, I wouldn’t be here. I ask God to help them play at their best.”
Whether the national team is an opportunity for out of favour players: “I am not going to get involved in that. I want the players to play for their respective club teams, but this is a different matter and they need to be ready to meet the demands of the national team coach. No time can be wasted.”
Finnish boss Markku Kanerva expects Greece to make an improvement after the initial meeting in Tampere and anticipates an interesting match at the Olympic Stadium:
Expectations for playing Greece in Athens: “I’m expecting an exciting game. At the moment, we’re in first place and have achieved good victories, and I am confident that we can pick up another positive result just like in Tampere.”
Possibility of the Greeks playing the same as in the first match in Tampere: “In Finland, Greece didn’t play very well, however they probably have their own legitimate explanations as to why they played poorly.”
Changes to the Greek team: “I’m sure that their mentality is to achieve revenge for the match in Finland. When a new coach takes over the team, you can’t predict what will happen, and they have some new players in their group. Nevertheless, you can’t create a completely new team in just three days. I think they will try to play in a different manner.”