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Muscat hails Sirens’ character, wants to finish as high as possible

Sirens coach Winston Muscat is delighted with the character shown by his players in Friday’s stunning 1-0 win over the more-quoted Birkirkara that lifted the St Paul’s Bay side clear of the relegation places.

A goal by Brazilian-born midfielder Marcelo Muniz proved to be crucial for Sirens who claimed their fourth win from their last five matches to climb to tenth place in the Premier League standings, 13 points clear of second-from-bottom Sta Lucia.

“It was a great team performance,” Muscat told the Times of Malta.

“We knew what to expect from Birkirkara. They are a very aggressive team who play direct football and try to win fouls in the final third and corner kicks as they are very dangerous from set-piece situations.

“Our game plan worked perfectly for us. I knew that if we managed to hold off Birkirkara’s fury in the first 20 minutes of the match then we could grow into the match and start causing problems to Birkirkara.

“After taking the lead we expected Birkirkara to come out strongly in the second half, but we too had chances to put the game beyond their reach with some quick counter attacks.

“But luckily we held on to the lead and bagged three very important points.”

Sirens had struggled to find their feet at the start of the season, as a run of tough fixtures coupled with a growing list of injuries saw them struggle to go on a winning run.

“Our fixtures’ schedule made it tough for us as we started the season against Birkirkara, Valletta, Gżira United and Ħamrun Spartans,” Muscat said.

“Then a growing list of injuries further complicated matters for us. If you look at our performances there were several games where we found ourselves with a player down for several minutes and we still managed to grind out draws.

“In the last few weeks, we became a team that plays for a result and in fact we managed three or four clean sheets. This solidity has helped to go on a strong run of result that saw us clinch four wins from our last five matches.

“At the moment, we seem to have a good cushion from the relegation places but there is still a long way to go and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. There are still 12 matches to go and we need to take it one game at a time.

“Our mindset will not change. We will take the field for every match with the intent to beat everyone and we see how far we can go. Our goal is to try and finish as high as possible in the league standings.”

With the January transfer window just round the corner, Muscat said that he is open to strengthen his squad.

Sirens have decided to part ways with forward Wellington who rescinded his contract last week.

The St Paul’s Bay club are looking at possible replacements but Muscat admits that it’s not easy to find the right players.

“January is a very difficult month to sign players,” Muscat said.

“It’s difficult for players who are doing well to be released by their clubs. If we are going to sign a player he needs to come and force his way into the team straight away, we don’t have time to improve his fitness levels.

“Added to that, it’s important to bring a player with a good character who will not disrupt the harmony that exists in our group. It’s not going to be easy but we are looking around and see what happens.”

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