Football: Soccer-Turkey coach, captain say team back on their feet after Italy loss


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey coach Senol Gunes and captain Burak Yilmaz said the team would bounce back against Wales on Wednesday after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Italy in their first match of the European Championship.

“We had two devastating days after the Italy game,” Yilmaz told a press conference on Tuesday ahead of their second Group A match at Baku’s Olympic Stadium.

His team are hoping that the presence of many of their fans in Azerbaijan, which has close ethnic and cultural ties with Turkey, will help earn them three sorely needed points.

“Our fans are always with us. With their support and unity in the team, we are back on our feet now and focused on our goals,” he said.

“We have a very difficult game tomorrow. But we are aware of our mistakes in the first game, and we had realistic meetings. I believe we will be what is expected of us tomorrow.”

Gunes has plenty to ponder after a meek performance in the Italy match, when Turkey failed to make any real impact. He echoed Yilmaz’s remarks about the need to take an honest look in the mirror.

“Bad game, bad outcome. We are not finding excuses for our bad performance … Now we have to stop being sorry and get to work,” Gunes said. “We know the weaknesses of our game, and we have to play with a new approach tomorrow.”

“Wales are a strong team and they played the semis in the last tournament. We have a different approach and a different philosophy from them. We can get 4 or 6 points from the next 2 games, but the aim is to get to the knockout stage,” he added.

Gunes said he may make a couple of changes to the team that played Italy. “I have trust in everyone in the squad,” he said.

He said Wales had shown a defensive approach, which the Turkish squad had analysed. “For tomorrow’s game we are not thinking about if it will be three or four players (in defence). I prefer they’d play without a defence,” Yilmaz joked.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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