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Riera: If someone compromises on passion and desire, they will have problems with me



Reactions after the matches of the 26th round of the Telemach First League

After three consecutive victories, Olimpija experienced its first home defeat in the First League, which will not have consequences in the fight for the title. Domžale, who squandered a two-goal advantage in the second half in Stožice on September 4 and lost 3:2, did not repeat the mistake this time.

Already after the first half, it was 0:3, but at the end it was 1:4. Simon Rožman with this result, he already looked forward to a victory in Ljubljana once, namely in May 2019, when he green and white led by Safet Hadžić. Half a year earlier, the meeting between these two rivals was 4:4.

Coach of Ljubljana Albert Riera had to watch the third game from the stands due to a penalty from Koper. A few times he also gave some instructions to his wards with loud shouts.

“Of course I’m very surprised by the result. Anyone who says they’re not surprised would be lying. But that’s what makes this game so beautiful. You’re only the favorite on paper. You have to win on the pitch. I told the players I’d rather lose today than in Wednesday or Sunday. We gave away points to a team that is not really our rival in the standings. If you have to lose, it’s better to lose against teams like that.” said the Spaniard at the press conference after the match before the away games in Celje and Murska Sobota this week.

“A game like this happens, it wasn’t our day. If only the favorites had won, we wouldn’t have had to play. Maybe it’s good for the players that they got a warning. In the opening 45 minutes, we weren’t Olimpia. There wasn’t the right intensity, we didn’t get no other ball. Football is not just about quality, tactics or positioning on the pitch. We had 22 shots, only eight of them were on target. That’s very bad, we have to improve that. In the second half, the players were like I know them. They had the ball all the time, they were better and they created chances. That was not the case in the first half.”

We were unrecognizable in the first half and we have to forget it as soon as possible, but right at the start of the second we showed a different face and played the way we want to play. We had ten positions from which we almost should have scored. We collected 22 shots and scored only one goal. Our performance in recent games is very poor. We can’t score a goal and decide the game, we’ll have to fix that. On the other hand, I have the feeling that every Domžal shot ended up in our net.

Svit Sešlar

“Why didn’t I trade? It’s a kind of punishment.”

Riera wasn’t satisfied with the pre-match plan: “We knew what the opponent was doing well. We conceded all the goals in a way that we wanted to avoid. We talked about it in training in the last few days.”

By the way, he disrupted Domžal’s game a little in the second half. “Mathematically, we are not champions yet, but of course I have no doubts who will be champions. We could have won two cups, both in terms of the points won and the way we played. If I were a player in the yellow jersey today, despite the victory, I would still want to be green. Because of the way game. If you asked the Domžal players if they enjoyed the second half, they would probably say they didn’t. Of course they enjoy the result, but I don’t know any player who enjoyed the game without the ball.”

Riera did not make a single substitution in the entire match, the first time this happened at Olimpia in front of the home crowd since May 1996: “Maybe it’s a kind of punishment. Sometimes you have to try to fix what you did wrong. Why should someone else help you with that?”

Olimpija’s coach does not agree that the motivation of his wards might be questionable due to the high advantage in the standings, which amounts to as many as 16 points: “Ask other teams if they would rather be in our position or yours. I myself would always like to be in this position. It is not a question of motivation, it is not difficult to motivate the players. Considering the passion and desire with which I live football, they have in my the team only has room for the players who follow me. Until now, all the footballers have had energy and desire. It will be like this until the end of the season. If anyone gives up, they will have problems with me.”

Rožman: Above all, continuous attacking is not yet the way I would like it to be

He was on the other side Simon Rožman understandably very pleased: “We managed a very nice match. Maybe we caught Olimpija on the left foot, but that does not diminish the fact that we were good today, close to the best of this season. The team is slowly developing in the direction we want. We scored goals in at the right time and in the right way. We are satisfied, it is not easy to play in Ljubljana against such a quality team that has a 16-point advantage. The young team has shown potential, but we are aware that we still have to do a lot of things to be even more competitive. It’s certainly not our maximum. Mainly, the continuous attack is not yet built to the extent that I would like. I haven’t had such a united team in a very long time, which is very young (in the first line-up there were six players born in 2001 and later, note a.). The boys have big ambitions and are very hardworking. They come to training with a smile. I am pleased with the energy they are showing. But I will never settle for quality and I will drive them unconscious.”

Was he afraid that in the second half, as in the first part of the season, they could once again squander a high advantage? “Actually, at the beginning of the second half, I was worried that the autumn scenario would repeat itself, at 3:1, I started watching the movie. But the team reacted in a great way, it showed stability and sobriety. As a coach, it is especially important for me that the boys learn from their mistakes. That at 3-1 there is no need to panic, to stay calm and stick to what you agreed. The team was faced with the test of growing up, not to make the same mistakes that would drag us throughout the season . We were still learning in the fall, every VAR shook us, there were a lot of fluctuations in the game. They are still there, but they are much less. That is why we are also a little more successful competitively.”

They don’t want to come to Europe unprepared, they don’t bother with the ranking

Domžale is now only two points behind second-placed Maribor and Celje. “I wouldn’t want the team to take too fast steps and come to Europe unprepared, because then only a big disappointment will follow. Quite honestly, we don’t stress you with a scale. As for that, we are calm. We would also like to capture some continuity, but we are aware of the work model of our club. In order to get to perfection, it will probably be very difficult. If you’re changing teams every six months, it’s difficult.”

After the defeat in the opening spring round against Tabor Sežana with a score of 0:4, the people of Domžal went on a streak of five games without defeat. They won all three away games. In general, they are doing great on foreign greens, their last defeat away from home was on September 18 in Celje (2:1).

“In the defeat against Sežana, I may have made a mistake or risked myself, because we dragged the winter preparations into the sixth week and put a lot of strain on the players. But I blamed the players for their mental preparation after returning from Umag. We lost the match in the opening ten minutes in an inappropriate manner. The players they got slapped, but we in the coaching staff were calm because we knew that freshness would come later. Generally, we never make drama after defeats. When you see guys give their maximum, you have to be patient. That’s how we will continue to operate. Also Tuesday’s cup defeat in Koper was not a disaster for us. We have a very small staff, 18 players and two cadets. When the rhythm of the matches is concentrated, it is very difficult to endure energetically. Far from surrendering to Koper, we decided just for substitutions, but it didn’t work out for us. The team learns more from defeats, even this defeat taught us something. In the long run, we are definitely going in the right direction.”

Milec: We cannot say that they were more combative than us

Maribor failed to beat Tabor for the second time this season in Ljudské vrt. It was 2:2 in September, when Kraševci even led 0:2 in the middle of the second half. On Saturday, they found themselves in the lead again, purple but they did not reach more than the point.

Captain Martin Milec couldn’t be more excited about the 1:1 result: “It was difficult to break through their defense, especially in the first half. In the second half, it was a little easier, we had a few opportunities. Unfortunately, we were not precise enough and not collected enough, we also lacked some luck. Unfortunately, the three points did not remain at home. Tabor is now in a position where he really goes for every ball on every inch of the pitch. Just like we are fighting for Europe, so they are fighting for survival. But we can’t say they were more fighting than us. At certain moments it was maybe it looks that way because they played that way, but we were definitely on the same level as them in terms of desire and energy.”

A new important match awaits Dušan Kosić and his protégé on Thursday, when Tabor will face Gorica in the coastal derby of the last-placed teams.  Photo: www.alesfevzer.com

Dušan Kosić continued the positive championship streak with Tabor after the cup elimination against Rogaška, Sežanci are the only undefeated team in the league this spring.

“The match was interesting until the last minutes. Our plan was to put pressure on the midfielders of Maribor and leave as little space as possible for the attackers to stand close. We did this well for most of the match, until the 60th, 70th minute. From one of the we managed to score a goal on rare occasions. Already in the first half, we had a lot of space, but we played poorly. We were impatient. When Maribor stepped on the gas and picked up the pace, we started to lag behind. We didn’t manage to keep the balls and in that we really suffered in the period, we parked the bus in our penalty area. It was difficult to get out of it, but luckily we survived. It’s a big point for us. Congratulations to the boys for their attitude throughout the game.”

Zeljković: We were ‘criminal’ in defense

Among the teams fighting for Europe, Koper are in the biggest crisis at the moment, having suffered their fourth consecutive championship defeat at Bonifika on Saturday. The cup victory over Domžale with 2:0 was thus quickly forgotten, Celje, just like Maribor and Olimpija last month, won with 0:1.

Captain canaries Andrej Kotnika two-time extra-time scorer in the cup, gave up his place on the pitch to Nikola Krajinović after an hour of play: “Already in the first half they were a little better, but in the second they completely outplayed us. We weren’t even close to being right. I don’t know why there is some fear or negative energy. We have to change that. Everyone has to look at themselves, it’s not left alone nothing for us but to train and keep working and try to give the maximum in every training session and every match.”

Coach Zoran Zeljković he had a long meeting with the players after the defeat, he had a very gloomy look at his helplessness. Celje and Maribor now trail Koper by seven points: “We were not aggressive enough, without a card and a serious foul. This is not the way to play in matches like this. Everything comes from the defense, in this segment we were ‘criminal’ today. The opponent dared to do more, showed more and deservedly won.”

The hero Celjanov became a substitute five minutes before the end after a counterattack Charles Ikwuemesi, who gained too many kilos during the winter at his mother’s kitchen. Second attacker Lovro Bizjak he said: “At the break we agreed that we had to step on the gas a little in the second half. We showed a really high-quality performance. We had many chances, we could have scored another goal. We were much better, especially with combination and forward play. This was formula for winning.”

27th round

Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.: BRAVO – MARIBOR



Thursday at 3:00 p.m.: CB24 CAMP SEŽANA – GORICA

At 17.30: MURA – KOPER

OLIMPIJA          26 19  3  4 48:26 60
MARIBOR           26 13  5  8 53:31 44
CELJE             26 12  8  6 37:30 44
DOMŽALE           26 11  9  6 40:30 42
MURA              26  9 11  6 37:31 38
KOPER             26 10  7  9 34:25 37
BRAVO             26  6  6 15 23:28 24
KALCER RADOMLJE   26  4 10 12 21:46 22
CB24 TABOR SEŽANA 26  3 11 12 24:52 20
GORICA            26  3 10 13 22:40 19

Source: Rtvslo

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