Montenegro boss in shock claim about weaknesses in England squad

Date published: Sunday 24th March 2019 3:58

Ljubisa Tumbakovic

Montenegro head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic has been searching for a weakness in the England team – but admits he cannot find one.

The Three Lions visit Podgorica on Monday night for their second Euro 2020 qualifier, looking to add to the 5-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic.

It was a fine start to the beginning of another tournament cycle and came on the back of reaching the World Cup semi-final and qualifying for the Nations Leagues finals, which take place this summer.

Montenegro have played England four times in the past and have lost once, drawing the other three – including both previous meetings at the Gradski Stadion.

Leicester defender Harry Maguire was singled out by Czech Republic forward Matej Vydra as a “weak link” in the England ranks ahead of Friday’s game at Wembley – but Tumbakovic, who said his side cannot look at previous results as for inspiration this time out, disagreed.

Asked if he sees any weaknesses in the England squad, he replied: “I’m really trying but I can’t.

“We in the coaching team who deal with the players are realistic.

“Things that happen in the past are just nice results for Montenegro, tomorrow we will play a match with totally different players, new coaches, with different capabilities and different ideas from both teams.”

While Raheem Sterling was scoring a hat-trick as England saw off the Czech Republic on Friday night, Montenegro started their Group A campaign with a draw in Bulgaria.

Tumbakovic was pleased with how his team grew into the game but feels the performance will have to be better to get anything out of the meeting with England.

“The importance of the start of the qualifiers, the first game, brings its own importance, its own responsibilities,” he added.

“Because of that there were special nerves in the players from both national teams, that is why there was a lack of quality that would have made that game even more beautiful than it was.

“Our performance in the second half was a lot better but still far away from the quality of football Montenegro can show in this competition.

“That is why I do believe this second game will be at a higher level than the first one – the model and the way the (England) national team plays is something special.”

 

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