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Consistency is key if Marsaxlokk is to stay in Premier League, says Doffo

Marsaxlokk clinched their first win of the season against Żebbuġ Rangers. Photo: Christine Borg

Marsaxlokk coach Pablo Doffo has talked up the importance for his team to find consistency in terms of results as the southerners finally ended their search for a first win in the Premier League this season following a 3-0 victory over fellow newcomers Żebbuġ Rangers on Saturday.

This was a crucial victory for the southerners who prior to Saturday’s win were still looking for the first three points of the season after collecting just one point in their opening four matches.

But on Saturday, Marsaxlokk looked a rejuvenated side as they held control against the Rangers and inspired by new signing Kristjan Keqi they managed to clinch three vital points that lifted them above the relegation zone on the four-point mark.

“It was a very important win for us,” Marsaxlokk coach Pablo Doffo told the Times of Malta.

“We were desperate to take all three points against one of our main rivals in the relegation battle. The team had produced some very encouraging displays this season, losing to Ħamrun Spartans despite a fantastic display and taking a point against a more-quoted team like Gżira United.

“But we were craving for the three points that would have lifted the whole squad and I’m pleased that we completed the job against Żebbuġ Rangers and hopefully it will inject much needed confidence among the players. Hopefully, from now on we can kick on.”

Marsaxlokk entered the new season after a very busy transfer activity in the summer which saw the team bring in several new faces.

Doffo said that it was inevitable that the team needed time to click into gear.

“When you make so many changes to your first-team squad it’s a normal process that the teams need some time to start functioning at their best,” Doffo said.

“We were struggling to pick up points and I felt that we needed to bring in a couple of reinforcements last month when we signed Serbian goalkeeper Marko Drobnjak and forward Kristijan Keqi and their arrival proved very important as they are very experienced players.

“This season’s Premier League is a great challenge for us. All the teams that were promoted from the Challenge League are struggling to pick up points and it’s important that after this win we go on a run of results.

“It’s important that we take it one game at a time and see what happens.”

Doffo said that the win against Żebbuġ arrived at the right time as the team is heading into a crucial run of fixtures that could determine their fight for survival.

In fact, next weekend, Marsaxlokk face another team battling for survival Sta Lucia who are still in search of the first point of the season.

“This is a delicate period for us as in the next four weeks we have some direct encounters against the likes of Sta Lucia, Gudja United and Pietà Hotspurs among others,” the Argentine said.

“This month will be very important for the whole championship as I believe that we will have an indication on who will fight for the championship and who will battle against relegation so as I said it’s going to be crucial that we show a high level of consistency.

“Sta Lucia will be next for us and although they have not picked up any points, they are still a very good side and we need to be ready for them.

“Our win against Żebbuġ would end up being useless if we lose against Sta Lucia, so it’s important that we take all three points to continue moving away from the bottom places.”

Doffo enjoys huge experience in the Maltese Premier League and asked what struck him most so far, the Argentine was quite frank in his assessment.

“To be honest, I feel that the Premier League is showing a higher level this season,” Doffo said.

“It’s clear that there is a huge gap between the teams who boast huge financial budgets and the others who don’t have such financial power.

“To be frank, I would be in favour of having a Maltese Premier League with ten or maximum 12 teams to ensure we keep the level high of the competition.”

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