SLOVENIA – BULGARIA
January 21th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Celar, Zlatkov
Igor Benedejčič, Head coach of team Slovenia:
– First of all, I would like to thank the organizing committee for their work on this big tournament. I can imagine how hard it is to conduct such an event. I hope that you will continue inviting us in the next years and I can promise you that we will gladly come. As for the game, we performed well and did everything right. Team Bulgaria is a strong one, but we deserved a victory.
– How did you prepare for today’s match?
– We did not have any problems with motivation today. As you remember we only had 18 players in our application form. It seemed that this could be an issue, but everything worked out right. It also had a positive side – we managed to watch all our players in action and to form enough ground for conclusions.
– As the tournament is over, can you mention strengths and drawbacks of your team?
– I think our overall performance was good, despite we finished seventh (and last year we won the Memorial). This is a completely new team, and we got acquainted very recently, so I am glad that these two weeks were that busy and we had a chance to get to know each other better.
– What would you like to change in the tournament format?
– It would be better to hold the tournament right after the New Year, like it was a year ago.
Viktorio Pavlov, Head coach of team Bulgaria:
– I want to thank the organizing committee! Thank you for the invitation, this is my second time here and I am really enjoying everything! Congratulations to team Slovenia on a win. I guess our weak performance against them and in the tournament is due to our physical conditions.
– Was it hard to motivate your players for the match?
– We had problems with motivation and attitude even before the previous match. Our team is not at a good level now. We do not have enough substitutes, so we did not show our best. Fatigue also takes toll. So it was very hard to prepare for the last two matches.
– Could you make any conclusions about the overall performance of your team?
– We have a lot of young players in the team. They had to play against older guys, so that can be considered as a good experience. But we have a lot to work on to be up to the mark.
– Is there anything you would like to change in the tournament format?
– I would like to say something about the timing. January is not the best for the Bulgarian football, because December is a vacation month and boys don’t play or train. The club championship ends in November and they are back to their teams only in January, so clubs do not let some of them to come here. I guess it will be better to hold the tournament in February, during the UEFA window. As for the organization, I am glad to repeat that everything was done professionally!