Sunday, September 15, 2019

We´re not complacent insists Bilic

SoccerNews in European Championships 19 Jun 2008

12 Views

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic says complacency is not an issue for his high-achievers who Friday take on Turkey in the second quarter-final at Euro 2008.

The Croats have cruised into the last eight, winning all three first round games and are now one step away from a first ever appearance in the semi-finals.

Yet despite their billing as favourites for the clash with the Turks in Vienna, Bilic was keeping his head firmly on his young shoulders at Thursday's pre-match press conference.

“I'm satisfied with our achievement up to now but that's all. We're not complacent, we won't stop.

“Of course we're under pressure and it's rising but it's different now. It's positive pressure and we welcome this, this is what will motivate the players even more.”

Bilic was competing on the pitch as a defender the only time Croatia have crossed swords with Turkey in competition, at Euro '96 when a goal four minutes from time earned the Croats a 1-0 victory.

“I remember that game,” said the 39-year-old Bilic.

“It was a tough match, everyone was nervous, we only scored right at the end.

“Turkish football has advanced since then. They were third in the 2002 World Cup, and you only have to look at their club foootball to see the huge progress they've made.”

Croatian football has made giant strides too, a return to the heady years when they took bronze at the 1998 World Cup, so much so that Bilic said a good result was no longer greeted with surprise.

“It's a surprise now if we don't do well,” he insisted.

He was appearing alongside Croatia captain Niko Kovac, who has announced his international retirement after the competition.

Asked if he'd made that announcement to spur on his teammates the defensive midfielder shook his head.

“I don't need to motivate them. I'm 36, I love my country, if God gives me good health I'd play on for another 20 years!

“But I want to put that (talk of retirement) aside – tomorrow we've got a very important game, we need every atom of strength for the Turks.

“We will make history if we reach the semi-finals.”

Bilic had good news about two players over whom hovered injury doubts – midfield duo Dario Srna and Ivan Rakitic who were struggling with calf and knee problems respectively.

“I'm happy to say both Srna and Rakitic are fine and may play,” he reported.

Bilic has proved himself one of the shrewdest managers on the circuit and is fully conscious of Turkey's knack of coming from behind. Fatih Terim's men did it to devastating effect agaisnt the Czech Republic, and against Switzerland.

“We know they do this, it shows how strong they are. They've got good quality and good morale, they don't give up.

“It's certainly a reason for praise, but it also shows a weakness, because no team wants to trail the opposition and then have to come back.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Leave a Reply

avatar
 
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedarrowshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
  Subscribe  
Notify of
More More
Top