Anastasiadis and Fortounis focusing on fresh start
When speaking to the media ahead of the maiden UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier against Liechtenstein, Greek national team head coach Angelos Anastasiadis and midfielder Kostas Fortounis focused on the fresh start.
Ever since making the Last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Greece have endured a testing period on the international stage, failing to qualify for the last two competitions and conceding a few humiliating defeats. The underwhelming UEFA Nations League did little to raise fans’ hopes, but on Saturday, the players will look to make a positive start to the European championship qualifying campaign.
Ethniki Omada boss Angelos Anastasiadis gave a press-conference in Liechtenstein on Friday:
Call-ups to the team: “We picked the best players at this moment in time. They are here because of their performances, not their names. Everyone has the opportunity to be called up to the national team in the future.”
Preparation for Liechtenstein: “We’re a new team and we want to make a fresh start. The start is always important. We will do the best we can.”
Challenge which Liechtenstein pose: “We must treat all matches with the same amount of seriousness. All of us have to be determined and be prepared to do everything possible to emerge victorious.”
Possibility of Sokratis Papastathopoulos playing: “I don’t know, but I know that the medical team are doing all they can so that he can play against both Liechtenstein and Bosnia.”
What performance he wants: “First of all, our main goal is to win. The most important thing is the result. Nowadays, the difference in quality between all national teams is smaller. I hope that the players will keep in mind the recent failures of the Greek national team so that they have extra motivation.”
Mentality of the players since he took over: “It’s important to continue developing and improving. The way in which the players are training is completely different. It helps that we speak the same language. It must also be said that Liechtenstein changed their head coach too. Today, we have been studying the video footage of the opponents, and we know how we need to play against Liechtenstein on the pitch.”
Problems within the national team: “You know that I won’t reveal my starting line-up here. Yes, it’s true that we are missing key players, but this cannot be used as an excuse. We have been discussing about how we can cope with these losses. We’re a new team, and we need to add new aspects to our play. If we have good discipline, everything will work out in the end. It’s a process to make the players fully understand your ideas. I will make my decision concerning the starting 11 at the last minute.”
Olympiacos midfielder Kostas Fortounis also shared his expectations with the media:
Previous difficulties with Liechtenstein: “It’s true that we didn’t play well in the previous match on the road against these opponents. We had lots of possession, but we failed to score. However, we will play good football tomorrow, and we will try to score as many goals as we can. We aren’t afraid of these matches. This is a new beginning for us, a fresh start. We have a new coach and we’re ready for the match.”
Details which will decide the outcome: “We must protect possession and score. In the past, we have struggled to break down teams which sit back and play solidly in defence, so it’s vital that we score a quick goal against Liechtenstein. If the opponents are forced to take more risks, we will have opportunities to keep scoring. We want to feel the support from the fans, even when we’re going through difficult periods.”