Darren Abdilla urges players to cut out errors against Ferencvaros Published on: 30-07-2019

Valletta vs Ferencvaros

Valletta coach Darren Abdilla has urged his players to cut out ‘silly’ errors if they are to upset Hungarian giants Ferencvaros in today’s Champions League second qualifying round, second leg at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 8pm).

Ferencvaros head into tonight’s match firmly on top after last week’s 3-1 win over the Malta champions at the Groupama Arena in Budapest.

However, Yuri Messias’s late goal has handed Valletta a muchneeded lifeline as a win by two clear goals would enable the Citizens to progress to a third qualifying round tie against either Dinamo Zagreb, of Croatia, or Saburtalo, of Georgia.

Darren Abdilla, the Valletta coach, concedes that it will take something special from his team to upstage the more-quoted Ferencvaros tonight, however, he saw enough evidence in the first leg to fuel his dream of a famous victory.

“We may have lost the first leg in Hungary, but we are still in with a chance to qualify,” Abdilla told Times of Malta, yesterday.

“All three goals we conceded in the first leg could have been avoided with a little bit more attention. “It’s true we were playing a top quality side who are capable of punishing the smallest mistakes of their opponents.

“But at the same time, I think that my players were mentally blocked to perform to their best. Unfortunately, when Maltese players find themselves to face high-level opposition they tend to doubt themselves.

“And that is the challenge I put on the table to my players this week. I told them that you have proven time and again in the Maltese championship, winning several honours.

“Now it’s time to prove yourself in Europe, against Ferencvaros you have the chance to show that you can play in a foreign league.

“The players are determined to prove themselves and they will go out trying to get that twogoal win that would put us through.”

Abdilla cannot bank on his strongest formation this evening as captain Steve Borg, who saw red in the first leg, and Nicholas Pulis, who picked up his third booking in Hungary, are out with a one-match ban.

Injury woes

Defender Jonathan Caruana, midfielder Santiago Malano and striker Bojan Kaljevic are out injured. On a more positive note, Abdilla could hand a starting berth to Messias and Matteo Piciollo, who had a huge impact last week.

Goalkeeper Henry Bonello only returned to training on Sunday while Douglas Packer is still nursing a knee injury and is rated as doubtful.

The Valletta coach said that he is planning to effect some tactical changes for tonight’s match, with the Citizens expected to adopt a more aggressive approach.

“Every game has its own story and we need to be able to impose our game against very strong opponents,” Abdilla said.

“I feel that for this match we are much more prepared tactically and hopefully the changes that we are planning will give the desired dividends.

“It’s clear that we need to be more aggressive and try not to let Ferencvaros play their game. “It’s important that we don’t commit the same silly errors that saw us concede the goals in the first leg.

“In the first leg we created a lot of chances but we failed to make the most of them and our profligacy was severely punished by our opponents.

“We need to play a perfect game if we want to keep this European dream alive and I have no doubt that we will have our loyal fans behind us in our bid to create history.”

Source: timesofmalta.com