Thursday, April 25, 2019

Belgium boss Martinez pleased with patient Batshuayi

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Nov 2018

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Roberto Martinez praised Michy Batshuayi for setting aside first-half frustration to notch both Belgium goals in the 2-0 home victory over Iceland on Thursday.

Valencia striker Batshuayi banished a barren run of club form with his much-needed brace giving Martinez’s men winning momentum ahead of their final Nations League fixture away to Switzerland, where a point will be enough to book a finals berth.

Starting in place of the injured Romelu Lukaku, Batshuayi eventually made his opportunity count as he benefitted from Eden Hazard’s defence-splitting pass to break the deadlock just after the hour.

The 25-year-old had squandered two chances in the opening 20 minutes, but finished the match on a high thanks to Hannes Halldorsson’s gifting of a second goal nine minutes from full-time.

“In the first half [Batshuayi] experienced some setbacks,” Martinez told broadcaster VTM.

“He moved well for the opening goal. I’m glad he scored twice, but he also played a good game. I was delighted with his overall performance.

“In this type of match you have to remain constantly focused and be able to score a goal with one action.”

Belgium struggled to break down relegated Iceland despite fielding a strong XI for what was essentially a dead rubber, the result not affecting either side’s standing in Group 2 of League A.

A hard-earned 2-1 win over Switzerland in October puts the leaders in the box seat to advance, but Martinez anticipates strong resistance on Sunday.

“I expect a very difficult game,” he said. “The game we had in Brussels showed that Switzerland are a very strong group that have been together for a very long time.

“They are a very strong tactical team that use the players in their best system.

“They are playing at home, they have really good momentum in the Nations League. It is a game we are really looking forward to.

“We expect the same level of performance as in the Brussels game.”

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