Bulgaria – Latvia
Group C, 08.01.2016, 14:15
Best players: Valentin Antov, Janis Grinbergs
Post match comments
Viktorio Pavlov, Head coach of team Bulgaria:
– We have seen a true face of team Bulgaria at last. The face we wanted to see. We did not show it in the previous matches playing in a different way. And today we were almost perfect. There was no pressure after two past games and the players managed to show their best football.
– Your player Hristov got a red card and you made a substitution putting another Hristov. Do you necessarily have to have a player with such a last name?
– These are two brothers. But you are right, we don't have luck without at least one of them.
– You were playing very well even without one player. You had many chances but could not convert a single one. What is the reason? And how can you sort it out?
– The score was not that important for us as the way we were playing. It's difficult to play with only ten players just after the first 20 minutes. But I agree with you that we were unlucky with the last touch. And I repeat, I am happy that the team looked strong. You could see it yourself that Latvia almost could not leave their side in the second half. And this is what matters to me.
– Who chooses a player to take penalty kicks? Is it you or the players themselves?
– I make a decision who takes the shot.
Alexander Basov, Head coach of team Latvia:
– This was a difficult game for us. A red card and a penalty kick against our opponent, but I understood there were two options of how the match could go on. Either we would lead the game or Bulgaria would put themselves together and would start to show great football, which they did eventually. But there's also a psychological moment – we wanted to keep the score and get three points and hence, the guys were playing defensively rather than attacking. And still I'd like to thank them. This was our third game in six days and we had cumulative fatigue. We played the way we could, the way our energy supply lets us. It's not our best match, of course, but we got three points and the result is positive. We are now waiting for Azerbaijan – Slovenia result and we are preparing for the next game.
– How do you think, who will get the win?
– I am not giving any forecasts. And moreover, this is football. But I think Slovenia is a more mature team. Though they will also have their third match, and we'll see how they show themselves, whether they have energy or not. The opponent got a red card today – who could know this would be so? You can't make predictions.
– I'd like to come back to the beginning of the game when you were not happy with Davidenkovs. Didn't he execute the game plan right? Why were you not happy?
– It was more of an emotional hint. His task was to move to a closer post on wing attacks. And he was not always running into the area he was supposed to. But in the whole I am very glad with him in this match.
– Let's talk about the match result. It's clear the win and three points are better than a draw. But if Bulgaria scored from a penalty spot making it 1:1, wouldn't such a score be fair?
– Probably, it would be for Bulgaria. For us a win and three points are fair. Moreover, my intuition was telling me our goalkeeper would make a save in the episode with the penalty. The second half was not good for us, the opponent was more interesting.
– That's what it seemed. Without one player they were attacking well and even dominated being close to score.
– This happens. Maybe they caught "the second breath" and they wanted to equalize. They have this "southern" football when they catch drive and can outplay you even with ten players, if you let them play. On the contrary our guys got tired a little. They had not much energy for the second half, but managed to keep the score.
– Did you make corrections after Bulgaria lost a man? And do you train penalty kicks?
– Our goalkeeper denied several penalties in his club and the national team. He has this skill and we don't train this specifically. All credits to him. Maybe intuition helped to guess where the opponent would shoot. As for tactics, there's not much sense in changing anything when the score is 1:0 in your favor. You definitely don't take risks. Our technical skills are not great yet and so we wanted to play safe. We knew Bulgaria would run forward trying to equalize and we wanted to counter-attack and score a second. But unfortunately even with two chances –the ball hitting bar and a nice header – we did not manage.
#20 Bulgaria – Latvia