Delighted Zammit keeping his feet grounded Published on: 15-09-2015

Valletta coach Paul Zammit had good reason to be pleased with his team’s cohesive performance in the 2-1 victory over Birkirkara but insisted that the Citizens are still in a transitional period after overhauling their squad this summer.
“We knew that this a period of transition for our team because we effectively had to start from scratch this summer,” Zammit told Times of Malta.
“We have now gauged ourselves against three teams with different ambitions and we have managed to win all the three games.
“More than the positive results, I’m pleased that the team is gelling well.
“Credit goes to the players because they have grasped what we have in mind and their approach to training and games has been exceptional.
“We have done a lot of good things in our opening three games but sterner tests lie ahead. There are going to be highs and lows during the season and I want to see how my squad will cope with all eventualities.”
Facing Birkirkara for the first time since ending his long spell with the club to take charge of Valletta for the second time in his coaching career, Zammit had the last laugh on Sunday as substitute Njongo Priso struck a late winner after Federico Falcone had cancelled out Liliu’s opener for the Stripes.
Zammit admitted that he was touched by the reception he received from the Birkirkara fans before kick-off.
“I want to thank the Birkirkara ultras for the memento they gave me before the game and all the supporters for their ovation,” Zammit said.
“I was genuinely overwhelmed.”
Zammit had words of praise for Birkirkara’s performance.
“Although Birkirkara finished on the losing side, they had a good performance,” Zammit said.
“The game could have gone either way but we continued to believe that we could get a result until the very end.”
Priso, re-signed by Valletta this summer, proved to be Zammit’s trump card as his late introduction clearly added impetus to the team’s attack.
Zammit preferred to accentuate the collective but acknowledged that his substitutes, Llywelyn Cremona, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza and Priso made the desired impact.
“If anything, the game against Birkirkara underlined the importance of all the elements in our squad,” Zammit said. “Those who came on as substitutes made a difference.”
The sight of Valletta lining up with three central defenders and two wing-backs came as a surprise to many but Zammit stressed that he places a lot of emphasis on tactical versatility.
“I want my team to be capable of adapting to different strategies,” Zammit said.
“The tactical approach depends on the opposition and what we intend to do during the game.
“We’ve been practising different modules in training, so the players are ready when we switch tactics.
“You need different types of players for diverse strategies.
“The players who started did a lot of good work tactically in what was a tiring match.
“I put in Llywelyn Cremona and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza.
“Everything was planned as I wanted my team to put pressure on Birkirkara in the wide areas in the closing minutes.
“And with his first touch of the ball, Mifsud Triganza brought Priso into play and he scored the winning goal.
“But it’s the collective that counts and every player gave his contribution in what was a tight, difficult game played in humid conditions.”

Source - Times of Malta