Albert Riera was in ‘form’ after Europa League exit: Celje coach again critical of NHS, also took issue with Olimpija’s transfer policy
dreamt, but came up empty-handed. Historic success will have to wait. Well, qualifying for the last round of European qualifiers was an achievement unlike any Celje had ever seen before. But on the last step, Maccabi was too much to handle. Albert Riera, after the draw with the Israelis and the 2:5 aggregate defeat, was expectedly not beaming with satisfaction, but he also proved once again that he has a really sharp tongue.
“I have seen a lot of positive things. I look forward, not back. In Europe, you pay the price for mistakes. We came into the game with a big deficit, and in football anything can happen, but unfortunately we didn’t take our chances in the first half. If they had, we would have had a different game. I would like to congratulate the players, they have done an outstanding job. We were competing against a fantastic team, but we have proved before that favourites don’t always win. This time, I think we were the better opponent. The result could have been better, but I am happy with the game. Next year we are going back to Europe and we will come back more experienced,” said Albert Riera at a press conference at the end of the showdown at the Z’land stadium.
Albert Riera: “Thanks to the Alliance for helping us dream!”
The Spaniard noted that fatigue was more than evident in the return leg against Maccabi, which was also “blamed” on
the Football Association of Slovenia
: “If you look at the minutes when I made the changes, it will be clear to you. In the first half, we were the much better opponent. But it was an intense game and we could only last 45 minutes. Thanks again to the Football Association for making all the substitutions until the 70th minute. If the plan works, you don’t change it. But this time it was not possible, the players were too tired. Thanks to the Alliance for helping us dream. We played four games in 11 days. But this is not an excuse, it is just another request to help clubs and Slovenian football. If the players were fresh, I wouldn’t change a thing this time.”
Now, of course, the question is how to move forward. Is Celje quality enough to become the new Slovenian champion? Or would Albert Riera like to see some more reinforcements in the summer? “I don’t know if the administration will be happy to hear me say this, but I am still waiting for a replacement for Ikwuemesi. We’ll see what happens by midnight. We have lost a very important player in attack. But even if there is no new striker, I will not complain. I have enough players and we will adapt. What is missing is the profile of an actor like Charlie. I don’t want a footballer who is just a number. It has to be better than the players we already have. Some clubs have brought six, seven, even 12 players. No, that’s not me. I need quality, not quantity. And I have,” added Albert Riera after the game, when the summer transfer window had not yet closed. Who he was referring to when he mentioned the 12 new players probably goes without saying…
This text was automatically translated using AI.