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Coach Nisevic delighted with Spartans’ fearless approach in Velez Mostar win

Ħamrun defender Ognjen Bjelicic looks to build an attack against Velez Mostar. Photo: Hamrun Spartans FC

Branko Nisevic says that he was impressed by the fearless attitude shown by his players as Ħamrun Spartans returned home after their famous victory over Bosnian side Velez Mostar in the UEFA Conference League.

A Matthew Guillaumier goal after 30 minutes of play handed the 2021 Malta champions a precious victory that puts the team in a strong position to progress to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League.

However, the Serbian coach warned that the job is far from done and there is more work to do in next week’s second leg at the Centenary Stadium.

“Obviously we have many reasons to be very satisfied with the team’s performance,” Nisevic told the Times of Malta.

“Playing away in an environment not usual for us, against an opponent more quoted than us and being able to impose our game for long spells of the game makes us all very satisfied.

“Apart from the team performance, our supporters present at the stadium were equally superb. When we saw their effort, it gave us more motivation to do the best we could.”

Thursday’s win in Bosnia came just one week after the team’s emphatic 4-1 victory over Armenian side Alashkert and Nisevic admitted that last week’s performance had instilled more self-belief in his players but emphasised the importance of not getting carried away.

“It is vital not to get carried away after this win – as we haven’t achieved anything yet,” Nisevic said.

“We came into the match following an excellent performance against Alashkert, and the main worry of the technical staff was that the players might approach the match with too much over confidence.

“We worked a lot on this in the last two days and you saw how all the players reacted to it in a professional way. This gives me a reason to believe that they will have the same approach in the next match.

“We all know that 1-0 is not a big advantage, we all know that goals away now have the same value as at home, so we will make sure that in our mind the next game starts from 0-0.”

Nisevic said that the thing that he liked most of his team was the fact that they were keen to show that they were not inferior to their opponents and adopted a fearless approach.

“There were many things that pleased me about my players,” Nisevic said.

“First of all their ability to survive a very difficult environment. Secondly, the players were ready to stick to our game plan even though we were playing abroad. We didn’t start the match thinking that we are inferior to them.

“We started the match determined to show that although we were coming from a small country we still had great potential and that is what we did.

“My only regret is that we didn’t manage to score more goals. I felt that we had many shots at goal and could have been more effective. It’s not easy to score goals in European matches but with the opportunities we created we should have been more productive.”

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