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Flash quotes: media calls 14 January

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Flash quotes from media calls held on 14 January.

GROUP A

Slovenia
North Macedonia
Montenegro

GROUP B

Hungary

GROUP C

France
Serbia

GROUP A

SLOVENIA

Debrecen, 14 January - Quotes from Slovenia coach Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE), right wing Blaz Janc (SLO) and left wing Tilen Kodrin (SLO) at a media call on Friday.

Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE) - coach

On their next opponents, Denmark:

“We are having an opponent who is good in every aspect of the game. We are in good shape with good confidence and we will do as good as possible to make it harder to Denmark. Tactically is difficult to say much about Denmark. They have many great individuals and have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We will give our best and we will try to win it.”

On their performance against North Macedonia:

“I am happy that we won two points and how we played defence during that match. I would like us to have more effectiveness in front of the goal. Also, would like us to be faster when returning to defence.”

On Jure Dolenec’s possible injury:

“He did an MRI [scan] and it showed some things but we are still waiting for the doctor’s opinion on his condition. We have Matic Groselj and Blaz Janc who can play on right back, there are different possibilities. We will see.”

Blaz Janc (SLO) - right wing

On their next opponents, Denmark:

“We need to perform excellent if we want to win against Denmark. We played well against North Macedonia but we need to step up for the next opponent. Our defence and fast breaks should be our weapon against one of the best teams in the world.”

Tilen Kodrin (SLO) - left wing

On the first match at the EHF EURO 2022:

“The first match is always hard and I think that was shown in our performance against North Macedonia.”

On their next opponents, Denmark:

“We want to beat Denmark, that’s for sure. However, we are aware it’s going to be very hard. We need to enjoy that match, have strong defence and have full concentration, not allow ourselves to make mistakes.”


NORTH MACEDONIA

Debrecen, 14 January - Quotes from North Macedonia coach Kiril Lazarov (MKD), right wing Goce Georgievski (MKD) and goalkeeper Martin Tomovski (MKD) at a media call on Friday.

Kiril Lazarov (MKD) - coach

On their performance in the first match against Slovenia:

“We need to focus more on our play, not to let our emotions overtake us. We will analyse the last match and the next one. I will try to show players their mistakes and how to stop them in the next match. They are an inexperienced young team and can learn a lot. There is a good atmosphere among us.”

On their next match against Montenegro:

“We are not afraid of our next opponents. Our main task should be to go as one team that believes. I told the players not to think too much about our next opponents. We need to upgrade our style of play, to learn from mistakes.

“Focus and concentration is key. With that, we can make a good result. We need to be more efficient in the attack. We must not underestimate Montenegro. We have our idea and tactics for them.”

Goce Gergievski (MKD) - right wing

On their first match against Slovenia:

“It is normal to be little disappointed after that match against Slovenia. I think we could do little better and we can learn a lot from that match.

“We are a mixed team, with a lot of unexperienced players.”

On their next opponents, Montenegro:

“There is not much time to prepare against Montenegro. We will watch their game and train hard. Montenegro plays a different style than Slovenia and it will work better for us. We know them very well as we played a few times already.”

Martin Tomovski (MKD) - goalkeeper

On their performance against Slovenia:

“Even though we lost, there were good aspects of the match, especially in the defence and it helped me.”

On their next match against Montenegro:

“It’s a new day. We need to forget that first match and look forward. We need to have the same approach and give our best against Montenegro. There is no doubt we can play against them and win. We just need to do everything we agreed with coach Lazarov. If we are going to play at least like against Slovenia, that will help me a lot also between the posts.”


MONTENEGRO

Debrecen, 14 January - Quotes from Montenegro technical director Dsasko Mrvaljevic (MNE), left back Vasko Sevaljevic (MNE) and right back Branko Vujovic (MNE) at a media call on Friday

Drasko Mrvaljevic (MNE) - technical director

On their next opponents, North Macedonia:

“We had many mistakes against Denmark. We have many young players and they played as best as they could. Our next opponent is North Macedonia and we know it’s going to be interesting match for both of us. My wish is that everyone is healthy and ready to play.

“North Macedonia have experienced players even though they have many young players too. They are doing great job and are better with each match.”

On his role as a coach:

“I was centre back during my career and this wasn’t something totally new and strange to me. Nevertheless, I hope that our coach [Zoran Roganovic, MNE] will join us tomorrow and that we will play a good match.”

Vasko Sevaljevic (MNE) - left back

On the first match against Denmark:

“I didn’t play almost at all. I’m proud of the young players in our team. They gave their maximum against Denmark.”

On the situation in the team:

“We can play against anyone, we already proved that in the past. We would be much better if we hadn’t had so many problems with Covid-19. I hope that’s all behind us.”

On their next opponents, North Macedonia:

“The match against North Macedonia is very important. I believe we will show our true face in that match. We watched their clash against Slovenia. They are a good team with good tactics. There will be a fight all 60 minutes. We already played at the EHF EURO 2018, the match was decided in the last minutes, so there is no doubt it will be like this again.”

Branko Vujovic (MNE) - left back

On their next opponents, North Macedonia:

“The match against North Macedonia is on one hand like a final match. Good defence will be crucial for the match. It will help our goalkeepers and allow us to have more fast breaks. We will give our best on the court, that’s my promise to all our fans.”

GROUP B

HUNGARY

Budapest, 14 January – Quotes from Hungary head coach István Gulyás (HUN), right wing Gabor Ancsin (HUN), goalkeeper Marton Székely (HUN) and vice-president of the Hungarian Handball Federation, László Nagy (HUN), at a media call on Friday.

István Gulyás (HUN) – coach

On the match against the Netherlands:

“We were completely helpless yesterday. Whatever we tried against the Dutch team, nothing worked. Any mistake a handball player can do, we did, and we were unable the calm the players down. They wanted to prove so desperately that finally this caused the defeat.”

On an injury to line player Bence Bánhidi (HUN):

“One of our key players, Bence Bánhidi, suffered ankle ligament injury, which has been treated by the medical staff since then. We don’t know yet whether he will be able to step on court on Sunday. If the doctors say Bence is not able to play, we won’t take any risks.”

On his hopes for the next match:

“Hopefully, the players will calm down in the next few days and will perform much better against Portugal.”

Gabor Ancsin (HUN) – right wing

On losing to the Netherlans:

“We played the worst game of the past three years, even though the atmosphere was incredible. It has been an amazing experience for everyone, but I don’t think we lost the match due to the pressure of 20,000 spectators, but the whole team had a terrible day. We are still searching for the reasons why we were unable to follow the instructions of the coaches and why we were frozen on court.

“However, this failure may have come just in the perfect time to wake the team up, we must be focused from the very first minutes of the games from now on. I hope that if we were able to stay so close to the Netherlands with such a bad play, we can win our next two matches in the group. This morning, a completely different Hungarian team has come for breakfast, and we are motivated to show against Portugal what we are capable of.”

Marton Székely (HUN) – goalkeeper

On losing to the Netherlands:

“We are aware that we have been a huge disappointment for whole Hungary, and we wish to have the opportunity to play once again tonight to show everyone this was only a misfortune. Our problem was not the audience of 20,000 people, nor the pressure of the media, we had known that for a long time it was going to be a huge event.”

On how they will bounce back for their next match against Portugal:

“Our desire is to show everyone on our next game, we are a much better team than this. It is possible that the friendly match against Belorussia would have been useful for us, but we are already thinking about the solutions to correct the mistakes against Portugal. Since I left Porto, I managed to maintain a good relationship with my former teammates. Of course, the communication between us is more active now, with the approach of the European Championships, but the goals of the teams are clear. We are super-motivated ahead of the next matches.”

László Nagy (HUN) – vice-president of the Hungarian Handball Federation

On the result of the first match:

“We are very critical, and we know we underperformed on our opening game. The Dutch played without any burden while we were frozen. Our well-defined goals haven’t changed at all, the minimum requirement for ourselves to beat Portugal and Iceland, so now the most important task is to leave the past behind and to encourage the players. I already can see that the tension among the guys has already decreased since last night.”

GROUP C

FRANCE

Szeged, 14 January – Quotes from France assistant coach Erick Mathe (FRA), left back Karl Konan (FRA) and line player Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) at a media call on Thursday.

Erick Mathe (FRA) – assistant coach

On the difficulty of preparing for the game against Ukraine :

“France have not played against Ukraine for a long time, the preparation games were cancelled and they changed coach since their last official game so we can only rely on one game, the one from Thursday against Serbia.

“They sure did not play their best handball, especially defensively, but I am sure they can do better than that. Dmytro Horiha, their left back, can be a danger from long distance, they have got in [Gennadiy] Komok an experienced goalkeeper as well. People might see us as the favourites in that game, but we will have to be very focused to take the points.”

On the possibility of giving more playing time to important players tomorrow:

“We want to allow everyone to step in the EHF EURO. Yesterday, players like Dika Mem or Nikola Karabatic played a lot, whereas Melvyn Richardson or Aymeric Minne sat a lot on the bench. There will not be many opportunities for us to rest the important players. If we make life easy for ourselves, tomorrow might be the opportunity to do so.”

On the atmosphere in the Pick Arena:

“Honestly, I loved it. For sure, the fans were more backing Croatia than us, but that helped us raise our level as well. I’d rather play in this atmosphere, with fans against us, than in an empty arena. Sure, the fans were just a little bit too enthusiastic at some point in the game, and that was not a good thing, but overall, the spectators made the game even more special for the players on the court.”

Karl Konan (FRA) - left back

On his first EHF EURO game:

“To come on the court and to be booed by the Croatian fans is not something I am used to, but that got me in the mood. Right from the start, we knew it would be a battle. I knew I had to replace Luka Karabatic, and that gave me a lot of responsibilities. I had to forget about all the surroundings and all the context.”

On the stress he could have felt before the game against Croatia:

“It was good stress, no panic, pure adrenaline for me. Having responsibilities gives me huge motivation and I tried not to think about the players in front of me. No matter how many trophies they have won, I had to protect my goalkeeper and do my best to make my team win.”

On setting up a new defence ahead of the start of the EHF EURO:

“We did not have much time, especially since [goalkeeper] Vincent Gerard joined us quite late. We focused on the basics, just how me and Ludovic Fabregas could play next to each other in the central defence. Given what we saw yesterday, I think we did okay. We still have things to improve, but overall, I’m pretty pleased with the performance the defence had yesterday.”

Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) – line player

On the next game against Ukraine:

“Winning against Croatia and losing against Ukraine tomorrow would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. The game yesterday has to be our benchmark for the next ones. We have to respect Ukraine, a team composed of players who play for Motor Zaporozhye, which is a tough team to play against in the [EHF] Champions League. We have to take another step in this competition.”

On setting up the new defence with Karl Konan :

“It might have looked easy from the outside, but there is a lot of work behind that. Karl and I are two similar people, we listen a lot, we’re open to advice from the coaches, we both became dads recently, so there is a lot in common between us. During the preparation, we had to be quick, to focus on the simple things. There is still a lot of progress to be made.”

SERBIA

Szeged, 14 January – Quotes from Serbia coach Antonio Gerona (ESP) and line player Mihajlo Mihajlovic (SRB) at a media call on Thursday.

Antonio Gerona (ESP) – coach

On the win in the first game against Ukraine:

“I am happy about the result, a little bit less about how we won that game. We clearly made too many mistakes on both sides of the court. This level of performance will not be enough if we want to win against Croatia on Saturday or against France on Monday. The good thing, we were able to give playing time to all 16 players, so they could make a proper entry in the competition.”

On the game against Croatia on Saturday:

“It is already a first final for us. If we win, we go to the main round, it is as simple as that. I don’t want us to think that if we lose against Croatia, then we can beat France. Too much calculation is a bad thing. This will be a final and we have to play it this way.”

On the atmosphere ahead of the Balkan derby:

“This will be a first for me. I have played some top games like Barça against Ciudad Real, but this really is another level. We expect a very heated game, with the fans in the stands to push both sides. Even though I am not Serbian, I can feel there is this special mood among my players. I have crossed paths with famous Serbian players in my career, such as Dejan Peric, Nenad Perunisic or Petar Nenadic, and they all told me that the derby was the game not to lose.”

On how to win the derby:

“To remain as mentally fresh as possible. We saw yesterday during the game between France and Croatia that things could get a little bit crazy and we can’t fall in that trap. We have to focus on ourselves, try to remain as calm as possible, and try to play our game. I’m sure that, if we do that, we will not be far from the win.”

Mihajlo Mihajlovic (SRB) – line player

On the confidence gathered on Thursday during the win against Ukraine:

“We had a lot of problems during the preparation, so to win easily the first game of the EHF EURO is a good thing for us. We are now more confident, and we will now have nothing to lose against Croatia tomorrow.”

On the game against Croatia:

“This is a final. The next two games against Croatia and France will decide if we go home early or if we can keep our adventure going. We came here with big ambitions and there are no reasons we would not be able to look at Croatia in the eye tomorrow.”

On how special it is to play the Balkan derby :

“I have played with a lot of Croatian players across my career, and I have nothing but good things to say about them, some of them are now my friends. It is sports, it remains sports and no matter the history between the two countries, tomorrow will just be one great team against another great team. I’m sure this will be a fair game.”

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