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Never had doubt about our quality, says Malta women’s coach Tesse

Malta’s Brenda Borg slides in for a tackle against Moldova on Tuesday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Manuela Tesse could not be happier after seeing her Malta women’s national team clinch maximum points after the opening two games from the UEFA Women’s Nations League.

Tasked with the objective of clinching League B promotion, the Maltese side – who are the best-ranked team amongst their opponents – are already in the driving seat after beating Latvia and Moldova.

The Maltese selection lead the standings with six points, three more than Latvia and Andorra with the latter set to face Tesse’s side twice during the October international window.

With three goals scored, none conceded, and ample room for improvement leave Tesse upbeat ahead of the remaining games of the campaign.

After all, the Italian coach was confident from the start about the quality of her players before taking over the national team job.

“I would not have taken this job if I did not believe in these players,” Tesse told the Times of Malta.

“After all, I just organise them on the pitch, it’s them that they have to produce the performances.”

For Tesse, this was her fifth victory in six games as coach of this selection with 10 goals scored and eight conceded – five of them against World Cup participants Haiti during the July international window.

Moreover, it was Malta’s first home game since Tesse’s opening two games in charge against Luxembourg back in February.

Therefore it was imperative for the hosts to delight the home crowd.

“We were looking forward to play in front of our supporters and we deserved this victory,” she said.

“The players were aware of their lacklustre display against Latvia but against Moldova they really upped their ante, and I am proud of them.”

In describing their first opponents, Latvia, Tesse said that they are a very strong and physical team with good level of individual players.

Nonetheless, she believes the Maltese players were a little afraid to impose the usual playing style but they still showed their resilient character to claim a winning start.

The top scorer of the Maltese side in this competition so far is Haley Bugeja and the Inter player is already shining in this newly-launched Nations League.

Bugeja, 19, has scored all three goals for Malta so far as she joins Rachel Cuschieri as the national team’s third all-time scorer with 13 goals, having made just 21 appearances.

Leading the best scorers’ sheet is still Dorianne Theuma with 26 goals while Ylenia Carabott follows up with 20.

Carabott, on her part, collected her 90th cap against Moldova after being given the nod to lead the attack and was unfortunate not to mark her milestone with a goal earlier in the game.

As the Andorra games loom, Malta will be eyeing more history as the Nations League continues to shed light on the improvement of this movement.

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