Wood believes historic result will come

by Tyronne | Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2016

 

 International Football

By Mark Viales

 

Gibraltar national team head coach Jeff Wood believes that the first competitive points will be marked on the board sooner or later as the Rock improves from every game.

He made the comments during Gibraltar’s pre-match press conference at the Estadio Algarve in Faro, Portugal, ahead of their maiden World Cup qualifying campaign against Greece tomorrow evening at 8.45pm.

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“Whether it is tomorrow or during this World Cup qualifying campaign, I think that a result will come,” he said. “We have improved in every game and it is a learning curve for the players. They are playing international football against some of the biggest stars in Europe and with that experience behind them, I think this result will eventually happen.”

Wood said that his side are looking to progress as a whole and introduce younger players into the fold and give them that vital international experience to aid in their development.

“We have some young players breaking through and I want then to see it as a challenge to displace the senior players and at the same time push the seniors to perform,” he said.

With the implications attached to taking part in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time, Wood was buoyant on the mood in the camp ahead of this historic fixture.

“We’ve been in Portugal for over a week now and the players have worked tremendously hard. They have been fantastic and the spirit in the camp is excellent, especially with the added bonus of Lee Casciaro’s involvement,” he said. “It is an historic occasion and we are looking forward to it as a unit that includes our staff, players and everyone who was involved to get us into FIFA. Tomorrow we have to perform and we want to give Gibraltar fans something to cheer about.”

Wood said that, despite Greece suffering some embarrassing results against lesser opposition recently, they have gone through a positive transition under Greece national team manager Michael Skibbe.

“They had a disappointing campaign – in the Euros – but since the new coach came in they have been very organised and successful,” he said.

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Fitness levels have improved since last week’s 5-0 friendly defeat against European Champions Portugal in Porto with him implementing double training sessions for his players.

“We have to make sure that they are in physical condition to play and we spoke to our medical staff on the – training – loads that we place on the players as well as using GPS to give us more information.”

Stalwart Gibraltar captain Roy Chipolina said that most international matches are a backs to the wall affair for Team 54 and Greece will be no different, but is hoping to frustrate the former European Champions.

“If we can defend like we did against Portugal and get them frustrated it can lead to mistakes and maybe we can catch them on the counter,” he said. “We want to come off that pitch knowing that we have given everything we have.”

Chipolina also felt that Gibraltar has improved exponentially since entering UEFA and is excited at some of the youngsters stepping up to senior level.

“We are a much better side than when we started. Personally and as a team we have learned a lot. We seem to do it in parts, but if we manage to get a good 90 minutes performance, I am sure that we will see a surprise result sooner or later.”

One of these players who is challenging for a first team role, Jamie Bosio, said that he was extremely happy to be a part of it all and is not just here to make up the numbers.

“We are all looking forward to it and there is competition for places in training. I want to try and find my place to push the senior players, but also help some of the new youngsters integrate into the squad,” he said. “A lot of credit has to go to Jeff who has given us this chance.”

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