Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Montella: ´Unfair´ Demiral ban will spur Turkiye on against Netherlands

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Jul 2024

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Turkiye will show even more passion after the “unfair” suspension handed to Mehdi Demiral, so says coach Vincenzo Montella.

Demiral scored both of Turkiye’s goals in their 2-1 last-16 win over Austria at Euro 2024 on Tuesday.

That victory teed up a quarter-final with the Netherlands, but Turkiye will have to go up against the Dutch without their key defender Demiral.

The centre-back was handed a two-game ban by UEFA on Friday, due to having celebrated with a ‘wolf salute’, which is associated with a far-right extremist group Grey Wolves.

Montella hit out at that decision in his pre-match press conference.

He said: “We consider it unfair, this ban because it was not a political gesture. It was interpreted as such, but it was just something that was not properly understood.

“But this will not put a break on the Turkish pride. Actually, we will be more passionate, more proud.

“We want to make the country proud, and I’m sure we will all be highly motivated, and this goes for the fans as well.

“Our fans have been extraordinary so far, full of passion. They really have conveyed to us all the passion and love, from the hotel to the stadium, back to the hotel.

“We have always been very correct as well. And that’s what I expect from them tomorrow – great support.”

Turkiye have reached the quarter-final of a major tournament for the fourth time, and for the first time since Euro 2008, when they reached the semis.

Montella has given six starts to teenagers at Euro 2024 – three for Kenan Yildiz and three for Arda Guler – a joint-record in a single edition of the finals, along with Spain at Euro 2020.

Guler has been one of the stars of the tournament, but Montella knows that his young team must keep a lid on their emotions against the Dutch.

“They must show Turkish pride, they must be close to the team and support us, even when we are having hard times. Now regarding Merhi, we have to manage our emotions before the match, during the match, internal emotions, external emotions,” he said.

“We are the youngest team at the tournament, and emotions factor in when you play these matches,” Montella added.

“Some players are more experienced, they’re used to playing certain matches, they’re used to preparing for these matches and they have a bit of an edge.

“So we must be able to manage all of this emotional sphere and transform it into energy and field it because we’re younger, and in a way we can have more energy, and this can give us an edge.”

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