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‘We respect Partizani but we will play our game’, says Marsaxlokk coach Winston Muscat

Marsaxlokk will make their return to European football when the Southerners take on Albanian giants Partizani in the UEFA Conference League first qualifying round, first leg tie at the Air Albania Stadium on Thursday (kick-off: 8pm).

Winston Muscat’s team have been working hard to ensure they arrive for today’s match in their best possible shape as they look to secure a positive result that would keep the tie open ahead of next week’s second leg.

Their opponents, Partizani, are a team that have grown over the years in European football and their goal is clearly to try and go one better than last season when they missed out on a place in the group stages of the UEFA Conference League after losing to Kazakhstan side Astana 2-1 on aggregate in the Play-off Round.

The Premier League club have been preparing for this fixture with an intense training camp abroad and coach Muscat said that his players will take the pitch tonight with the sole intent of securing a positive result.

“We are aware that we are facing a very strong team but that doesn’t change our mindset for this game,” coach Muscat told the Times of Malta.

“We will give them the respect they deserve but we will take the pitch with the sole aim of bringing home a positive result.

“I am very pleased with the work put in by my players during pre-season and I feel that we have done all we could to arrive for this match in the best possible condition.”

Marsaxlokk have effected some changes to the squad, particularly their foreigners’ line-up and Muscat sounded pleased with the additions.

“I am very pleased with the squad of players that I have available,” he said.

“We have some new faces but the early indications show that we have the potential to be equally competitive as last season and maybe try to aspire for more.

“During our camp we played some friendly matches against foreign teams and obviously there are a few areas where we can improve.

“But, overall I’m happy with this group of players who love to play constructive football and are always keen to learn, and that is very important.”

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