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Milojević: We won't rely on last week's draw

Crvena zvezda Head Coach spoke to the press ahead of UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg match versus FC Irtysh Pavlodar.

Even though the team conceded a late leveller last Thrursday in Kazakhstan, the red-and-whites looked the better side. Still, that will count for nothing and Milojević's boys will have to prove over another 90 minutes that they deserve to progress in the competition.

“We worked hard since the away leg. Irtysh Pavlodar play a defensive brand of football and rely heavily on counter-attacks. They’ve got some very good players and are an experienced team. It will be up to us to get them under control and not allow them to hit us on the break. To do that, it will be essential to remain calm and not rush into the match. We want to be wise and show that we’re constantly improving.”

Milojević didn’t want to speak about his players’ individual mistakes.

“The match in Pavlodar went on as we anticipated, but that 90th minute mistake was the difference between winning and drawing. I don’t want to talk about whose mistake it was because we’re a team and all mistakes are made by the team. When I first arrived here I noticed that the players are rather low on confidence. I want to give them time to build that confidence back because it’s very important in football. The only way to gain confidence is getting results, and that is done by training and working hard.”

Our players are slowly adjusting to the system their new Head Coach wants them to play in.

“I’m still not set on the starting XI for Thursday. We’ve got another training session to get through before the match and I will use that to get to know my team a bit better before making decisions. We’re still getting to know each other, not only in terms of skill and ability, but also in terms of character and personality. There are situations when motivated players can help the team more than skillful ones. There is a lot of adjusting for everyone in the squad. Ricardinho, for example, is a player of great skill. He showed me in training that he deserves time. I’m patient. I will give everyone time to hit form and show me what they can do. The fans want new signings to shine from day one, but it doesn’t work that way. We’ll have to be patient and allow everyone to adjust to new surroundings.”

“Pešić is getting fitter, but I’m not sure if he’ll be ready to face Irtysh Pavlodar. It’s clear that he’s a quality player, but you have to be match fit to be able to show your quality over 90 minutes. He will get there.”

With the summer transfer window open, you have to be prepared for changes in your squad.

“Changes will be possible until 31 August. We’ve got European football already and the league starts on Sunday. You need competition for places and you’re always looking to add something your team may be lacking. There will be players coming and going – it’s normal. We’ll be looking to get to a 25-man squad that would be able to compete in Europe, Superliga and Serbian Cup.”

The upcoming match against Irtysh Pavlodar will be interesting because home ultras will be housed in the South Stand, and not in the North Stand they traditionally occupy. This is a UEFA measure which is a punishment for a series of insulting chanting towards the referees at our ground.

“I think the fine is harsh, but it can’t be helped now. We need our fans to support us in every match and it’s not important which stand they’re in. I hope many people will want to come to Rajko Mitić Stadium and help us reach the next round in the Europe League. We’ll work hard not to let the fans down.”


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