Completion of the competitive part of the preparations: 8 matches, 6 victories and 2 no-score draws. We scored 30 goals and conceded only 5. When all is said and done, the prospects before the season opening are encouraging.
The coach assesses: "In all the matches, our approach was very good and the results reflect that. We played against quality opponents. During the winter preparations, we were unsatisfied after several matches. This time, we were rather too passive in the half-time against NK Vardar, but on the whole, we saw many good things. Certainly the first official matches will show our true worth, but due to the quality, experience and long-term joint efforts, the response was very good. There is no danger of such a good response lacking in the future."
Another positive side of the preparations: we are completing them in nearly full number.
"I am satisfied that we have not had any major problems with injuries. After their return, both Bohar and Cretu got their minutes of play on the pitch. According to the forecasts of the health service, Pirić may now return to work at full capacity. His injury has taken some time to heal, but he is going to be with us from Saturday onwards. Only Šme has remained on the list of the injured players and sadly he will not join us for the autumn matches.”
What do affirmatives from the preparations mean for the football eleven in the coming season?
"We are going to adapt to the moment, but also to the opponent. We will look for solutions on how to achieve victory. We have different players of different profiles and all of them have done a good job during the preparations. Consequently, this provides us with opportunities to choose players that will be most suitable for a particular moment at an individual match. With the players we have, it happens that, after regular playing, individual players have fewer opportunities during a particular period, but then they return to the pitch again. We cannot play with the same line-up on fifty matches of the season. The boys need this drill, they need a break to recuperate, find energy and be able to play again. One such example is Bajde, he did not play during the final part of the spring cycle, but he has used the preparations well. Therefore, no player is far from the pitch. This kind of player rotations has proved to be very beneficial. Everybody playing on the pitch has to show himself in the best possible light. The season is going to be long and there will be plenty of play minutes for everyone."
After the introductory match on Wednesday, Nardin Mulahusejnović played the first half-time in the purple football jersey on Friday. What are the first impressions of the new player in the attacking phase?
"He shows potential and, with good work, he has a bright future ahead of him. We are not going to speed things up for him, he will have to buckle down to work to get used to our principles."
And now – full focus of the European premiere. Partizani, Thursday at 5:30 pm.
"We have information on the opponent. They have just come from the preparations in Macedonia and, on Wednesday, we saw the play in Ohrid. We learned much about them in the matches of the previous championship and they have not really changed the team which is going to play on Thursday in Tirana. The physical part of our plan is behind us, the tactical preparation is ahead of us. I expect a demanding match because the opponent is technically good and they have a clear set strategy with enough speed in the attack phase. We will need to focus and keep our bearing on the right level," Darko Milanič reflected on the opening of the season.