Mihajlovic and Trapattoni upbeat despite tepid stalemate

Reuters

Wed, 15 Aug 22:54:00 2012

Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and Ireland counterpart Giovanni Trapattoni gave optimistic verdicts after their sides, both in a rebuilding phase, drew 0-0 in a lacklustre friendly on Wednesday.

The game, played at walking pace in front of a meagre 5,000 crowd in Red Star Belgrade's stadium, failed to produce a single clear-cut chance on a warm evening in the Serbian capital.

"We have made sweeping changes and it takes time to rebuild a team, but I remain optimistic about our chances of qualifying for the World Cup," Mihajlovic told a news conference.

"We were impressive at the back and I am confident that we will be able to add some bite to our attack before our opening qualifier against Scotland.

"We know our fans expect instant success but that's easier said than done and overall I am happy with our performance and the result," he said.

Trapattoni, whose side visit Kazakhstan in their opening qualifier before a daunting home game against Germany, was impressed by the performance of goalkeeper Keiren Westwood who replaced the retired Shay Given.

"Westwood showed that we can trust him to be a long-term replacement for Given and I am also happy with the rest of the team although it was clear we still lack fitness," he said.

"We can take a lot of positives from this game because we were up against a well-drilled Serbian team who have some very good players in their ranks."

Following their visit to Glasgow on Sept. 7, the Serbians will be at home to Wales in the northern city of Novi Sad four days later.

 

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