In previous years, the matches leading to our most important European encounters haven’t always gone to plan. This year, we were good enough to seal yet another victory.
“We were very focused during the preparations for this match. The boys played well and they functioned as a team. Especially in the first half, our team spirit was very strong and our performance spot on. It was a deserved victory. We shut their attempts down efficiently. Even when they were pushing hard, we were very confident. What I’m not so pleased about is the fact that we seem to require quite a few chances in order to score,” said the coach after the match with Rudar.
There are far more positive things to take from this game, however, than negative ones. It’s been three years since we last won our first three league matches.
“We didn’t pay special attention to the numbers, but I like what this fact says about us. It means we’re on the right track and that we must carry on.”
There is a new name on the club’s scoresheet. Blaž Vrhovec scored his first goal for Maribor.
“I’m happy for him. He works tirelessly in every match and every practice. He is very motivated and gives a lot to the team. He never gives less than a hundred per cent and he really deserved this goal.”
The match was also an indicator of how many of our players are currently in good form. And the moment for that couldn’t have been better.
“It’s very important to be on song and to win matches before the European deciders. It’s good for morale and it gives you that extra push.”
What’s the plan before leaving for Iceland?
“First, the players must recuperate. Then, we will thoroughly prepare for our opponent. We saw what they were like in our first encounter, but in the return leg, we can expect different things from them. It’s important that we mentally prepare for the specifics we’ll face on Iceland, things that are not common in our league matches, but which we can deal with. Then, all that’s left is to go into Wednesday’s match with courage and determination,” emphasised Darko Milanič.