Head Coach Milovan Rajevac faced the media on Thursday ahead of Ghana’s Total Enegies Africa Cup of Nations second Group C encounter against Gabon. The Black Stars began the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Morocco and needs to win on Friday to avoid an early exit.
Addressing the press at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium on Thursday, Coach Milovan Rajevac who is attending his second Africa Cup of Nations tournament was asked about his squad, fitness of Captain Andre Ayew, the performance of Thomas Partey and approach to the game against Gabon.
This is what the boss said:
On who is likely to start against Gabon
I don’t talk about player selection before the match. They are all aware that they are in contention for the team and as I usually say, it’s important to start the match properly but it is even more important to finish the match the way we want so all the boys are ready and tomorrow at the match meeting they will find who will start the match.
Milo on faith in players
We are trying to improve our performance and in every match I expect us to play much better and to be more efficient in front of the opponents post. We are now concentrating on Gabon, we have studied the team, we have prepared well and I have faith in my players and we are ready for the match tomorrow.
On Mohammed Kudus
We are not sure yet about Kudus but we expect to see him soon with us. He is recovering; he has started training so hopefully he will be with our team soon.
There is always pressure but Coaches are used to live and work with the pressure because every next match is the most important. We still have two matches to play in our Group so we are thinking about the next one against Gabon. That is the most important match for us at the moment and we are trying to channel this pressure into a positive performance.
On approach and belief
First match is always like that, Gabon has three points, we have no point but the next match we have the opportunity to win the first three points so we are concentrated on winning. Our state of mind is excellent; we have faith in our abilities so we are preparing well. The boys are raring to go and ready to deliver and we are doing everything in our power to make this happen. We have really worked a lot in the previous days; we few know exactly what it takes. We played well in the previous match so we need to step up a little bit to make our performance better. We worked well, everybody is okay, we don’t have any COVID-19 issue in our team, players are feeling okay, and they had time to rest, tactically we are ready and hopefully everything will go well for us.
On Andre Ayew
He suffered a knock and was hurt and needed stitches and he is feeling okay now. About team selection, I don’t talk about selection before the match so let’s see what happens.
On referee decisions
I normally don’t talk about officiating. But I can say that there a lot of controversies that the whole world is talking about especially in yesterday’s match. Even per our judgement, we should have had a penalty in the first half when we played Morocco but VAR didn’t even bother to check and there were other decisions that are questions. I think this is becoming an issue and we hope that in the next days of the competition, officiating will be less controversial and fairer for everybody. It is not my style to question officiating, even after matches I don’t comment on refereeing. You realised that I congratulated the referees after our match, they can make a mistake, they are human and we understand that. But now that there is VAR so the number of mistakes should be less so we hope it will be less in the next matches of the competition.
On Morocco dominance
We analysed the match, sometimes if you look at statistics, sometimes they are important, sometimes they are not. But we analysed the match the following day and I was pretty happy with most of the aspects of the game as my players did. Of course you learn from every match and you know we are trying to improve those things in order to improve the level of performance of the team so we are growing and that is good.
On Thomas Partey
May be his performance against Morocco was not as the level we all expect but definitely he is a great player and he will prove to everybody in the next matches that he can play fantastically and he can really contribute to the team and hope he will be the best player in this tournament.
On approach to the next game
We approach every match with seriousness, we studied the team, and we know Gabon, they played well in the first match and they are a good team definitely. But we will rely on ourselves and we know the amount of quality we possess so we have to be ready and tactically disciplined to give our best and I believe we have a great chance to win the next match.