BULGARIA – SLOVAKIA
January 18th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Bastunov, Rymarenko
Angel Stoykov, Assistant coach of team Bulgaria:
– I congratulate our opponent on a deserved win. The game showed that they were objectively better. Our team was playing weak today. Our coaching staff will definitely analyze mistakes we made to avoid repeating them in the future.
– It’s difficult for your team to score on this tournament. Today you scored a goal, but conceded in just several minutes. Were you celebrating for long or did you get relaxed?
– We lacked concentration throughout the entire match today, including that episode.
– Martin Kovachev made it to the starting eleven today. Why was he substituted on the 20th minute already?
– What can I say? It was a decision of the coaching staff.
– It seems that your team – just like several other teams – is starting to lack fitness by the end of the tournament. Is this the case?
– Our players were on vacations in December, and these are their first matches after a long break. This is the main reason of our not so successful performance on this tournament – the players are not fully ready physically.
– Is it more difficult to play on the arena with a roof?
– There’s no difference for us whether to play outdoor or indoor. We hope that we’ll keep on participating in this well-organized tournament in the future.
Milan Malatinsky, Head coach of team Slovakia:
– We had set a task to play high pressing from the very beginning of the match. The plan worked out well and we scored our first goal. But then we conceded quite quickly. Let me note that the opposing midfield played well in the first half, whereas I cannot say I am satisfied with my midfielders. Thanks to the substitutions we managed to make our moves better. And, of course, partly help came from the penalty and the red card of the opponent.
– Today you scored more goals than in four previous matches altogether. Have you changed anything?
– I wouldn’t say we changed anything much. There were a lot of chances for us in the previous matches as well, but we could not convert them. Today everything worked out right.
– You added a new goalkeeper to the team application list before this match – Dominik Takac. Wasn’t it risky to put him into the starting line-up at once?
– Coming here Dominik knew that he would play at least one match. It happened that he played only half of a match, because he was hit in his head in the first half, and we had to change him in half-time. He was training with us for two days prior to this game, and we were confident letting him play from the very first minutes.
– Many teams are hardly coping with the intense tournament calendar, but your team seems to be relatively fresh. How did you achieve this?
– The players are taking a cold bath after each match (smiling). I think the problem of fatigue is more in the heads than in reality. Players came here to play football and to represent their country – just this fact is more than enough to cope with problems.