Tom Saintfiet to adopt a more attacking mindset

In a press conference that took place ahead of Malta’s match against Estonia, Malta coach Saintfiet emphasised that the Maltese team needed to do more attacking.

Tom Saintfiet and Michael Mifsud addressing the media
Tom Saintfiet and Michael Mifsud addressing the media

Malta national team coach Tom Saintfiet  has emphasised that the Maltese national team needs to be a more offensive-play minded side, warning that Estonia, who Malta is facing in an international match tomorrow, is a strong side that has improved a lot lately. 

Addressing a press conference today, he pointed out that Estonia are 80th in the world rankings, while Malta are 182nd. In addition, the National coach also made it clear that the Estonians are "physically much stronger," than the Maltese footballers.

When asked about what changes he will bring to the Maltese national team, Saintfiet pointed out that the national team has been going through a bad patch and that it was time to make some changes. The coach announced that he would be shifting the team's formation from 5-3-1-1 to 4-2-3-1.

This is expected to lead to a more attacking approach; however the Belgian coach insisted results will take time as it is not only the coach who should implement changes, but also the clubs, who he said should be "more professional" and favour Maltese players instead of foreign ones.

An stark change in the squad was the exclusion of Bjorn Kristensen. Saintfiet’s explanation for Kristensen's absence was that the Hibernians midfielder had been sidelined for some time due to injury, while Ryan Fenech was going through a much better run of form. "This is healthy, " the national coach said, "as it is not beneficial to always be certain that you will be selected."

Saintfiet also decided to call up young players such as Kyrian Nwoko and Stefan Cassar. Despite this, the Belgian coach insisted that he will not burn these players out and will only give them some experience at international level. Malta’s coach also hinted that not all of those players might feature in tomorrow’s match.

Asked by this newspaper about the benefits of having senior players such as Michael Mifsud and Andre Schembri training together with young players, Saintfiet stated that it is very important to have both sets of players together.

The press conference was also addressed by national team captain Michael Mifsud. The veteran player asserted that he was not planning on retiring from the national team any time soon, saying he still felt that he has a lot to contribute.

Malta will face Estonia tomorrow at the national stadium, kicking off at 15:00.