Birkirkara coach Giovanni Tedesco is urging his players to show courage and determination as the Stripes open their UEFA Conference League campaign with a tough trip against Maribor, (kick-off: 21.00).
Maribor are historically the most successful club in Slovenian football and boast in their ranks former Atalanta midfielder Josip Ilicic, who, however, is unlikely to be available for Thursday’s first leg.
Birkirkara coach Giovanni Tedesco is aware of the difficult task awaiting his players but still expects them to put on a strong showing.
“It’s a very tough match for us as Maribor is one of the best teams in Slovenia and have some great players in their ranks,” the Italian said.
“I was pleased with the work put in by my players in pre-season but I’m disappointed that we have some key players who are not at 100 per cent.
“Alessandro Coppola and Maxuell Maia are still not at 100 per cent after picking up injuries while Andrei Ciolacu suffered an ankle strain in training.
“But still I am pleased by what we managed to create during our time in pre-season.”
During his time in Maltese football has been the author of some impressive feats in European football, such as defeating West Ham United in his first spell with Birkirkara and leading Gżira United past Croatian giants Hajduk Split.
The Italian is planning another upset in Europe and said that despite the strong pedigree of their opponents he wants his players to show no fear of their opponents.
“We need to be courageous and try to play our game,” Tedesco said.
“I want my team to play with personality and try and produce a great performance. Maribor are a very attacking-minded side with some great players but they can concede some chances too so we need to be ready to try and make the most of the chances that come our way.”
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