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‘Everyone is responsible for Valletta FC struggles’, says coach Potenza

Valletta midfielder Brandon Paiber (left) shields the ball despite the challenge of Jurgen Degabriele. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Enzo Potenza has made it clear that everyone at Valletta FC should take full responsibility for the team’s travails in this season’s BOV Premier League and has urged his players to focus all their energies on trying to turn the club’s fortunes as quickly as possible.

Last weekend, Valletta conceded a goal in each half to succumb to a 2-0 defeat to Hibernians that left the team in the mire of relegation. In fact, the capital club are currently fourth from bottom on ten points, level with Mosta.

However, of most concern to Valletta is the fact that the team have picked up just two points from their last four matches, with their last win dating back to October 22 when they managed to overcome Marsaxlokk 1-0.

“It’s clear that the team is in a bit of a hole,” Potenza told the Times of Malta.

“We work hard during training during the week, but we are just unable to replicate everything that we prepare during matches. There is nothing I can say about the players’ commitment during training, but we are simply not performing when it matters most.”

The Italian coach said that it was very frustrating to see the team concede late goals during matches, due to individual errors and lapses in concentration.

“If you look at our last three matches, we conceded an equaliser to Santa Lucia in the 97th minute, lost the derby against Floriana in the 95th minute while against Hibs we conceded the first goal with virtually the last kick of the first half,” Potenza said.

“It’s clear that we have a problem in keeping our concentration and positive attitude during matches. We are conceding these goals due to individual errors. During the week we look at these problems and we do find solutions but then when the match comes we continue to commit the same errors.

“I am sad for our supporters who are always behind us for every match and are watching the team failing to perform every week.”

The Valletta FC coach said that his concern is not just when it comes to defending their goal but also in terms of scoring goals as the team is simply not creating enough chances.

“I am really worried about our attacking play at the moment,” Potenza said.

“We are enjoying 70 or 75 per cent of possession but we are not creating opportunities. We have difficulty making the most of our attacking play in the final 16 metres. We work a lot on attacking patterns but it’s not working out.

“The only solution to all this problem is to continue working hard in training and try and turn this very difficult situation.”

The Valletta coach, who took over the reins of the team last September after the club decided to part ways with Thane Micallef, said that he is taking full responsibility for the team’s problems and has no intention of making an excuse for the team’s difficulties.

“At the moment, I think everyone should have a good look at themselves and see how we can improve the situation. Everyone has to take responsibility for the situation that we find ourselves in and just do everything we can to come out of this difficult situation,” Potenza said.

“I can easily say that this is not my team and I’m working with what I have found at the club, but I don’t want to take this stance.

“I feel responsible for this difficult situation and will do everything in my power to try and turn the fortunes of the team as quickly as possible.”

Delicate clash

Next up for Valletta is a very delicate clash against Balzan who are currently sitting just three points ahead of the Citizens and who too are struggling for consistency this season.

Potenza said that it was time to stop talking and the most important thing was to ensure that the team returned to winning ways as quickly as possible.

“Winning matches is all that matters for us at the moment,” Potenza said.

“We can say a lot of words but if we don’t back them with facts, it will be useless. No doubt, a glorious club like Valletta FC does not deserve all this. We haven’t shown that we are a great team and responsibility falls on the coach as well as the players.

“Now is the time to respond. The match against Balzan is our last match of the year and we need to summon all our energies to produce the right response. We have been criticised heavily by the fans for our showings and we deserved it.

“It’s up to us to show that we are a far better team than the one that turned up on the pitch lately. That is why I expect everyone to be focused on the job and come matchday we produce the best possible showing to come out of this difficult situation as quickly as possible.”

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