Devis Mangia had good reason to be disappointed after Malta conceded two late goals in a harsh 3-2 defeat to the Faroe Islands at the Torsvollur On Thursday but the national coach was not downhearted.
Making their debut in Group D1 of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, Malta had shown character to come from a goal down and take a 2-1 lead with goals from Jurgen Degabriele, who equalised in the 38th minute, and Andrei Agius 16 minutes from time but the hosts struck twice in the last three minutes to take the points.
“We knew that perhaps we would have some problems in the last part of the game because they put in big, tall players who, from a physical point of view, can create problems for us,” Mangia, who was taking charge of his first match as Malta coach, said.
“However, as for the performance of our team, I’m happy. There was a good attitude, the players put everything on the pitch, they gave their 100 per cent and this for me, in this moment, is very important.
“It’s clear that there is disappointment because the result, in the final 10 minutes, was 2-1 for us but again this match, these situations can help us to grow.”
Malta’s focus now turns to the next UEFA Nations League Group D1 match, against Latvia at the National Stadium on Sunday. Latvia drew 0-0 at home against Andorra.
Mangia again stressed the importance of maintaining a good attitude as Malta seek to put the Faroe Islands setback behind them.
“We need to check the recovery of the players,” Mangia said. “We might also change some players (for Latvia match) but I repeat, if the attitude is this we can do a good job. It’s normal that we have to experience some mistakes, some situations and disappointing results like today but we have to continue on our way.”
In yesterday’s match in Torshavn, Mangia gave a debut to two players with 19-year-old Paul Mbong and 26-year-old midfielder Teddy Teuma coming on in the second half.
“It is part of our project,” Mangia said. “It’s clear that we have to start introducing new players but I repeat – all the players played with a good attitude today and for me, that is the most important thing.”