IRAN – AZERBAIJAN
January 15th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Shariatikhameneh, Seylighli
Abas Chamanian, Head coach of team Iran:
– I congratulate our opponent. They have a good team and many strong players. We knew this would be a difficult game, because the guys from Azerbaijan are older and physically stronger than our players. That’s why we used pressing. We had to defend much today, and I want to thank the Azerbaijan for such an experience since we got a lot of good practice in defense.
Tabriz Hasanov: It’s our fourth match when we’re practicing the opposing defense (smiling).
– It seemed that your team was progressing with each match: a loss, a tie and a high score win. You didn’t manage to continue this trend today. Is the reason connected with Azerbaijan or is there any other reason?
– All the opposing teams on this tournament differ much. As I said, Azerbaijan is a strong and physically well-developed team. So I think that a 0:1 defeat is not that bad for us.
– In such a case it’s a bit strange that you made your first substitution only on the 74th minute. Your younger and less stronger players should have been very tired by that time…
– We are preparing for the Youth World Cup and that’s why we brought here our main line-up as well as younger and less experienced players that we want to watch in action. We had our main guys playing in the starting eleven today, and I wanted to check them, so I was not making substitutions for quite a long time.
Tabriz Hasanov, Head coach of team Azerbaijan:
– We are finally celebrating a victory today, although we just had to get our first wins in the matches of the group stage. Our play was not as bright as in the previous games. There were many technical mistakes and we were losing many balls and fussing a lot. But this can be explained. When a team cannot win, the guys become constrained and lose confidence. Our opponent was pressing and defending well. The final place is not that important for us now. The main thing is to get our confidence back and to show our best football.
– The only goal was scored by Dogukan Oksuz today, who went in just six minutes before. Did your coaching intuition work?
– It was a planned substitution. He played well in that episode. He might want to get into the starting line-up for the next match (smiling).
– We got an impression along the tournament that your players are over-individualistic in the attacking moves. Today in the second half it seemed that they regrouped and started passing more which brought result…
– You might know that this is a peculiarity of football in the Caucasian region – they make a pass only after they dribble and pass one opposing player. This desire to make individual moves has been there for a long, since the Soviet times. We are trying to teach them to make more passes, because the ball would move faster this way. I don’t think that much changed in the second half. I simply asked the players to think faster and to play simpler.
– Could you tell more about your captain Farid Nabiyev and his functions on pitch? In the end of the game your team had several good counter-attacks, but he did not take part in them. Did he get tired?
– Mostly, we bet on him in the attacking moves. But we had two of our key players missing the game today because of red cards and another one got ill. Hence, we had to make changes in the line-up. Farid is a talented player. He plays for FC Qabala and he has offers from abroad already, but the club does not let him leave yet. We hope that he keeps on progressing and that he will join the first national team once.
– You have noted that you have a problem converting your chances. I wonder if your players score a lot of goals on the trainings or miss good chances as well…
– I can barely recognize them on trainings, because all the shots go into the goals! Should I make them miss on trainings, so that their shots get more precise in the official games? Before we arrived at this competition, we had three pre-tournament matches and did not manage to score a single goal although there were a hundred chances to do this! Can this match change the trend at last?
– There was a free kick whistled against your team on the 90th minute that turned out to be very dangerous. How were you feeling then?
– I did lose a lot of nerves during these four matches. Set pieces is our weak spot as we are not as good in aerial duel as we wish to be. That’s why I ask the players not to make unnecessary fouls on our side of the pitch. I realize that they are young and I hope that they will be better understanding with experience. The Granatkin Memorial is very useful in this respect.