Malta women’s national team coach Mark Gatt hopes that his team can put the Azerbaijan defeat aside and step up their performance in their final World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.
Gatt’s team will wrap up their qualifying campaign against the Eastern European side in Podgorica, on Tuesday, kick-off at 18:00.
On Friday, a goal in each half dashed Malta’s hopes of securing 10 points in a qualifying campaign for a second consecutive time. Nonetheless, Gatt – in his final game as Malta women’s coach, believes that his players have what it takes to end on a positive note.
“I would like to see a general improvement from my team and an attitude that reflects the strong showings we have already demonstrated in this qualifying campaign,” Gatt said.
Photo courtesy of Mark Zammit Cordina
“More defensive security, more efficiency upfront and less technical mistakes is what I require the most when facing Montenegro. Patience will be key while it is also crucial that we combine our positive things we have done in recent games in order to secure a positive finale.”
Montenegro, on their part, are still vying for a historic place in the Women’s World Cup play-offs.
They need to win and hope that Bosnia-Herzegovina lose to Azerbaijan in order to finish second.
Hence, coach Gatt is wary that Malta needs to improve from the Azerbaijan game if they want to gain a positive result in Podgorica.
“Looking back at the Azerbaijan game, there was a combination of things that went wrong,” Gatt explained. Our final meet together before this September International window was back in April, having skipped the June one due to factors that were not under control whereas Azerbaijan had played a double-header against Turkey in June.”
“Moreover, due to the limited time available to preparing for an international game, sometime even as less than three sessions, the success or lack of it depends heavily on the general preparation one finds in the players. Unfortunately, on this occasion, coming from a pre-season many players had little playing time and this reflected badly on our general performance in many aspects.”
At the same time, Gatt also took responsibility for trying to implement a more offensive approach for this game which might have backfired throughout the 90 minutes against Azerbaijan.
“I hope that the Azerbaijan defeat was just an off day at the office and that against Montenegro we showcase ourselves and demonstrate what we are about,” Gatt said.