This interview to the Estonian national team coach, Magnus Pehrsson, originally appeared on the Estonian FA website, www.jalgpall.ee, today when it's less than a month to Estonia's first friendly game after the summer break.
The Swedish coach words transmit the prudence in approaching the campaign since a lot of enthusiasm and expectation, from fans and local media, has been poured on the national team since the group was drawn in February. ‘Rumori’ has extensively analysed what the situation is with the new cycle of the national team opened in spring when Pehrsson took on his first game (Gibraltar-Estonia 0-2).
Just one month left to the start of the European campaign (on the 8th of September debut in Tallinn against Slovenia – edit), do you think there’s still enough time to prepare?
I think there is. Summer gave us the chance to prepare quietly, analyze and think, what we have to do in August (the very first game will be on the 4th of September, a friendly in Stockholm against Sweden –edit). Now we have some weeks to check the players form and also discuss with them. Additionally we must of course follow our opponents (England will be the second opponent in October for the Euro 2016 qualifiers –edit).
Which players have you followed most?
Since start of June, we have followed those players whose club season was still ongoing, especially via the internet. Naturally we are also focused on those who are changing clubs (there are still few without and among those the key-player, Konstantin Vassiljev – for more info check here) and we gave them advices as far as concerns the training part.
Shall we expect new faces for the next call-ups?
At the end of May and start of June, we tried very different players. Of course, there were either many injured players or who had to stay at the club. Now it’s an important month for the players.
Many players have also changed club in the meantime. What is your thought about their transfers?
Obviously, I’d fancy that all the players would find a good rhythm in their new clubs already. We have to support the players and advice them. Ideally, I’d wish that at the moment they would all play – either in the league or in pre-season friendly. Hopefully, in August, they will all settle at a club.
How is the situation with the players’ health?
At the moment many of them seem to be in good conditions. I wish they would all stay so as soon as we resume playing.
What kind of impression has the ‘A.LeCoq Arena’ (national team and FC Flora home stadium –edit) given you so far?
Of course it’s not the biggest stadium (maximum capacity can reach 10,000 people –edit) but with fans support the atmosphere can give great emotions. At the game against Tadjikistan (on the 7th of June, 2-1 for Estonia – edit) many players were already very tired. However, I hope that the positive emotions coming from the result of the game (Estonia had a comeback and win in the last minutes of the game –edit) would be brought forward to the qualifying campaign.
What are our chances in the group? (Estonia has been drawn with England, Switzerland, Lithuania, Slovenia and San Marino)
I would say so: we will do everything we can to offer a good performance against everyone. Let’s go game by game – at the moment our focus is the game against Slovenia.
Before that, we have the friendly game against Sweden, what do you wait from this game?
It’s our last build-up game to the campaign. I could say the result is always important. However, I will be keen in using all the 6 changes that have been agreed for this friendly. For us it’s another chance to try again some last things in the name of which we have been working.
On Friday, the Estonia FA will unveil the new national team strip for the qualification campaign to Euro 2016 in France at the presence of Pehrsson and several national team players: Kostantin Vassiljev, Dmitri Kruglov, Aleksandr Dmitrijev, Sergei Mośnikov and Martin Vunk. The list of attendance might change according to players availability since most of them (all except Vunk, settled at Nõmme Kalju) are in search of a new club.
'Rumori' will be there to report and present you the new jersey of the 'Eesti Koondis'.
Estonian FA already unveiled the new FA logo and the 'hedgehog' mascotte back in winter, check here.