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Team spirit the secret behind Mosta’s success, says Muscat

Mosta’s Clayton Failla (left) falls under the challenge of Sindre Osestad. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Mosta technical director Mario Muscat hailed his side’s tenacity and team spirit as the Blues boosted their hopes of securing European football next season when they overcame rivals Floriana 2-0 at the National Stadium on Sunday.

It was another eye-catching performance from coach Joe Grech’s team who managed to fend off a spirited challenge from rivals Floriana to secure three important points that kept them in fourth place in the Premier League standings on 35 points, three adrift of third-placed Birkirkara and two clear of Hibernians and Balzan.

“We knew that we were in for a very tough team in Floriana,” Muscat told the Times of Malta.

“Our players played against a team who had the ambition of challenging for the league and FA Trophy. For them Sunday’s match was crucial for them to get back in contention for a place in Europe.

“The team’s plan was quite clear. We wanted to be very tactically disciplined and try and hit our opponents with quick counter-attacks and our plan worked out perfectly as each time we hit them on the break and caused them a lot of trouble.

“It’s true there were several moments during the match where we needed to suffer a bit of Floriana’s pressure. Added to that, when we missed the penalty towards the end of the first half it could have turned out to be a game-changer as we could have easily crumbled.

“But the players kept their poise and went on to seal the three points with a second goal.”

Mosta may be in a strong position to secure a top-four finish but Muscat admitted that the Blues’ aspirations of securing such a finish, which could lead them to return to the UEFA Conference League qualifiers next summer, are hinging on a crucial run of fixtures scheduled for the next four weeks.

In fact, Mosta are set to face Valletta next weekend before taking on leaders Ħamrun Spartans, and then fellow European contenders Birkirkara, Gżira United, and Balzan.

“The next five matches will no doubt will define our European aspirations,” Muscat said.

“Every match is going to be a direct clash now and we are going to take it one game at a time and try and pick up as many points as possible.

“We know that we have a very tough run of fixtures but if we keep ourselves in this position after this run we can fancy ourselves to finish in the top four.”

Limited budget

Asked what was the secret behind Mosta’s impressive campaign so far, Muscat said that the strong bond that exists among the whole squad was the secret behind their success.

“To be honest, at the start of the season I sensed that this team could enjoy a great season,” Muscat said.

“The players gelled quickly at the start of the season and there is a great spirit among the players. Given the limited budget we have, our main goal was to secure Premier League safety as early as possible. But as the season unfolded the team continued to grow in its performances and we are here fighting for a top-four finish.

“Personally, this has been our best season at Mosta, as we are showing great consistency in our performances. There is still a lot to play for, as we are too into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy so in a way it’s up to us to see how far we can go this season.”

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