BULGARIA – TAJIKISTAN
January 10th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Dichevski, Ehsoni
Post match comments
Viktorio Pavlov, Head coach of team Bulgaria:
– First, I’d like to thank my team for a good game, for their will and devotion. I congratulate the guys on a win. Let me also say some words about another thing. We have the kindest overall impressions about the tournament in St. Petersburg, but today I am disappointed with the referees. I think there was a tendency with regard to yellow cards. There were a lot of them today, and mostly our players were cautioned, whereas our opponents were also creating moments deserving to get booked. Nevertheless, I want to mark passion and desire to fight for each ball from Tajikistan players. I am impressed by the strength of this team. And still, I wish the referees would have given me and my team more opportunities to play football on such a wonderful tournament.
– When Vakadinov was sent off for a second yellow card, your team was left with ten players. Are you happy about the way Bulgaria performed after?
– Yes, I am. It is difficult to play football in minority. We had to switch our main attention to defense, which is not my priority style of play. But I am very satisfied with my team. Even with one player sent off we did not make serious mistakes, played very well and got a win.
– Sometimes the players lose up to three kilos of weight during the game. You might have lost no less than that after such an intense match, right?
– Yes, the game was indeed strained, but still it seems that I lost less than the players (smiling).
– I can’t help but asking the following question after such a match – whether your team has a psychologist?
– Of course, we have. It’s just that he combines two positions – the one of a psychologist and the other of a head coach.
– After a victory today Bulgaria has good chances to take the first place in the group. Will you be aiming at a win for the next match against Greece? How well do you know your next opponents?
– I want my team to play good football, above all. This is the most important thing. As for Greece, yes, we certainly have enough information about them.
Vitalii Levchenko, Head coach of team Tajikistan:
– This was our second match on this tournament. Of course, we got tired to a certain extent, because our last match took a lot of energy and emotions. We were not fully recovered, and the beginning of the match turned out to be difficult. In the end of the first half we lost concentration and made a mistake letting our opponent score a goal from a counterattack. We added in mobility and aggression in the second half, and only one thing was left to fulfill – to score a goal. But, unfortunately we were unable to do this.
– You were constantly shouting something to Boboev and Hamroqulov in the first half. Why were you addressing to these two?
– Explaining a game plan, we tell each player how exactly he should play on his position. If someone does not fight for the balls, then we obviously have pretensions. One did not play active offensively, the other lost concentration in defense letting the opponent make a cross from the wing, and, as a result, we conceded a goal. I made two logical substitutions in half-time as the guys made mistakes.
– After two half-time substitutions you were not making a third one for a long time. Is this because you had a problem with reserves?
– Yes, unfortunately our bench is not as skilled as the starting line-up, and we don’t have equal substitutions. Although it is on this tournament where we really hope to see everyone in action, for there are many games in total.
– After two matches your team has three points and good tournament perspectives…
– We shall do our best to win the third match. In fact, we wanted to win today as well – we managed to add some drive, passion and effort in the second half. I wouldn’t like to voice any pretensions to the players with regard to those components. It’s just that we really had to convert several very good chances in the second half! At the same time I should say good words to our opponents and congratulate them on a win.