Mangia hails mental strength after Andorra win

Devis Mangia hailed the mental strength of the players after Malta came back from a goal down to beat Andorra 3-1 in another match from Group D1 of the UEFA Nations League. A win which puts Malta three points behind the Faroe Islands ahead of the direct clash between the two.

“First of all, compliments to my players and staff. We played a very good game despite some difficulties and I am satisfied for the players, for the association and the supporters.”

“In the beginning, everything was against us because we conceded the goal immediately – in the only opportunity that they had. We knew that they are good in such situations. We were a bit nervous in the beginning and this did not help. The players are normal guys and when you know that everybody around you expects a victory, which is not usual, you feel this kind of pressure. Therefore I am really happy for them.”

“In the first half, we had some opportunities and had some difficulties to create chances but in the second half, we were more free in the mind, we scored and after the 1-1, we had the full control of the game. We had opportunities … I am happy that we scored with a good combination between three substitutes which is also good. This means that we are a team and when I say that we have good players that could start in the first eleven like Pisani and others which played the previous game.”

“I am happy that in the first eleven, we had a born 1999, another entering the pitch and doing a good job. They have to stay with their feet on the ground. One scored, one entered and showed personality and another started the move for the third goal. It is good if we start to play with young players with this personality.”

When asked whether he predicted this progress from his players before taking over as coach, Mangia said “I have to be honest. Having to meet the players for the first time in July, I was not so optimistic to have this kind of performance, more than the results. When we played in the Faroe Islands, we lost but we had a good performance, considering also that it was a first game for many players after six months. When I met these guys, I started to understand that they have very good attitude and the willingness to follow this idea of football and to try to play in a different way. Coming from six successive positive results … these are good signals that we can do something. The players are proud to play for the national team and I feel that they want to be here.”

“For the second consecutive game, we scored three goals. We must be satisfied for this.”

Referring to Teddy Teuma, who so far, has been a key player in the team, Mangia said, “When I came here, I started to think about the players that can join us. When I saw him, I saw that he was a player that can help us in that position on the pitch. He has personality and he is also a guy which can help the others to have more confidence. Not to be better because we have good midfielders like Guillaumier, Muscat, Kristensen, Pisani and others, including in the other Under-21 but he is one player that has a lot of experience since he plays in the second division in Belgium – another kind of pressure. He is a player that can help us grow up as a project.”

“Maybe, for me, this is a mantra but we are working on a project. I am happy that we were able to beat some of the difficulties we had in the game. I repeat that problems usually start from the mind but the players were able to do this (overcome difficulties) in the second part of the first half and definitely in the second half.”

Photos: Copyright domenic aquilina/MFA

Photos: Copyright domenic aquilina/MFA