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Coach Abdilla says Floriana must justify favourites’ tag against Tre Penne

Floriana coach Darren Abdilla. Photo: Floriana FC Media

Floriana coach Darren Abdilla is urging his players to prove their superiority over San Marino side Tre Penne on the pitch as the Greens eye a winning start their UEFA Conference League campaign at the Tony Bezzina Stadium on Thursday evening (kick-off: 7pm).

The Floriana coach admitted that his team are the favourites to progress to the second qualifying round of the competition, however, he is still treating the match with a bit of caution as matches can easily be affected by unexpected proceedings on the pitch.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we are the favourites in this tie against Tre Penne,” Abdilla told the Times of Malta.

“However, it’s important to point out that matches are won on the field of play and we need to show that we deserve our tag of favourites by putting on a strong performance.

“We saw on Tuesday in the match involving Ħamrun that that early dismissal conditioned their display so we need to be fully focused and ensure that we play to the top of our game as by no means am I expecting the match to be a walk in the park.”

The San Marino side are not expected to pose a real danger to Floriana as they have struggled to leave their mark in Europe since their first appearance in UEFA club competitions in 2010.

“Tre Penne are a bit of a closed box for us as they changed a few players since last season and have a new coach in charge so I don’t have much information on how they play,” Abdilla said.

“In my experience of teams hailing from small countries, they usually like to register players of a certain calibre just for the European matches so you don’t know what to expect.

“But we are approaching this match fully focused on our game and we execute our game plan to perfection and hopefully that will be enough to get the win we are craving for ahead of next week’s second leg.”

Abdilla, who replaced Mauro Camoranesi as Floriana coach, has kept the majority of the squad of last season and brought in four new overseas players.

The former Gżira United coach admitted that he is pleased with the preparation of his team, albeit, he would have preferred to have a few days more to ensure the new recruits can reach a better physical condition.

“This year we had the shortest pre-season, of four weeks, due to June window of international matches,” Abdilla said.

“As a club we had nine players with the national team so I had limited time to work with them and share my football philosophy. Besides, we had a number of foreign players who joined the group a bit late, so their physical condition is still not at its best.

“But this is all part of a process and I am sure that we can deliver a good performance against Tre Penne.”

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