‘Who is favorite will be decided on the pitch’ says Ribas as a Gibraltar prepare to take on Latvia
As Gibraltar entered into its preparations for this evenings match against Latvia Gibraltar Head coach Julio Ribas was adamant that there were no favorites for tonight’s match.
Although Gibraltar will be playing in League C of the Nations League, whilst Latvia will be playing in League D, Mr Ribas believed that this was no reflection on whether Gibraltar entered as a favorite or not into the match.
“We don’t believe in anything we did it through hard work and on the pitch. We don’t feel more of a favorite than anyone and we don’t feel less of a favorite than anyone,” he responded during a media press conference prior to tonight’s match.
“Because matches need to be worked for the 94 minutes and when it’s over you will see who really was the favorite.”
Mr Ribas welcomed the expressions of support which had been seen from veterans players such as a Roy Chipolina and Lee Casciaro during the past days in which they showed support for the Gibraltar National Head coach and the work being done to develop Gibraltar’s national team.
“It is alway very important because we are a family and we try to be united,” he said, adding that he was “filled with pride” knowing that experienced players who he described as “symbolic national players” where publicly placing their support for the team and players and the work being done.
‘I don’t expect this when I’m working but when two iconic players do this I’m filled with pride.”
Speaking about the weekend’s match against Turkey Mr Ribas once again rejected the decision by officials to award a red card to Jayce Olivero for a sliding tackle in which it was clearly shown he made clear contact with the ball.
“Personally I was disturbed by the play because after seeing the repeats he did get the ball and if it was to be a card it should have been a yellow and not a direct red. Even the referee had to discuss with VAR.”
“We can all make mistakes, players coaches and players but the referee has a support which is VAR and you cannot afford to make those mistakes,” he exclaimed.
The Gibraltar head coach, whilst praising his players for their response to events and the manner they had played highlighted that things became a lot harder when his team had been reduced to just ten men when already the opponents where tough enough to deal with.
Speaking on Gibraltar’s prospects for this evening Julio Ribas put aside past results againstblatvia and warned that they were a tough opposition which had changed a lot during the past years.
Good results against the likes of Montenegro and Norway and Even Turkey, whilst putting Netherlands under pressure showed, he believed that they were tough opponents. Also highlighting that just four players remained from the team that had lost against Gibraltar.
The Gibraltar head coach was , however, confident about his team.
“We shouldn’t speak about matches before the match and I have total confidence in my players”
‘What we do not see in the results is the growth of the players who are individually gaining experience and growing into the game.”
With Jayce Olivero and Joseph Chipolina unavailable Mr Ribas was once again having to decide on his options on who would take over their roles.
The Gibraltar head coach highlighted that this competition had seen Gibraltar struggle with those positions after a number of injuries. However, he was confident he had players who could fill the roles and come into the match and play in the roles required.
Adding that he would “look at what option tactically is best suited for the team” for tonight’s match.