Ciobotariu: Lebanon must play attacking football
Beirut: Lebanon head coach Liviu Ciobotariu is adamant his side must play attacking football in order to get three points from their second Asian Qualifiers Group H match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
After losing their opening match against DPR Korea last month, Lebanon currently sit fourth in the group behind DPR Korea, Korea Republic and Turkmenistan who they host at Beirut Sports City Stadium on Thursday.
Speaking exclusively to the-AFC.com, Romanian Ciobotariu revealed his side have no other option but to get the three points if they want to achieve their objective of reaching the AFC Asian Cup Finals for the second consecutive time.
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“We should forget the result against DPR Korea which was unfortunately a bad match for us,” said Ciobotariu. “We must focus on the next match against Turkmenistan which is very important for us.”
Ciobotariu said he expects a tough match on Thursday and has prepared his team to get their first win of the Asian Qualifiers.
“This is our first home match and we must give our best to get a positive result, which is what our fans expect,” he said. “We are under pressure because our opponents have three points and it will be a tough match for us.
“We will study our opponents very well and I’m confident that the players will be ready to get the three points from the match,” he added.
There is extra pressure on the shoulders of Ciobotariu as he is expected to lead Lebanon to their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup Finals after The Cedars featured in UAE 2019 earlier this year under the stewardship of Montenegrin coach Miodrag Radulovic.
“For me, the most important thing is to change the mentality with the players,” he said. “We are not a weak team and we have good players who know how to play football.
“My main target is to change the mentality and play offensive football,” he said. “The second objective is to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup as this is very important for us.”
After coaching several clubs in Romania, Ciobotariu managed Al Faisaly and Al Taei in Saudi Arabia and he believes his experience in Saudi football helped him adapt when he took over at Lebanon.
“I previously coached in Saudi Arabia and I know the mentality of players in this region,” explained the 48-year-old coach. “My experience helped me to adapt and know how to deal with players.”
However, Ciobotariu is hoping to learn more as he is coaching a national team for the first time in his career.
“Coaching a national team is different from coaching a club but for me, it is the same pleasure,” said the former Romania national team defender.
“There is big difference between coaching a club and a national team because at a club, it’s a day-by-day job but here I have the players for three or four days only each month,” he said. “I’m trying to adapt to this situation.”
Should Lebanon win against Turkmenistan, Ciobotariu's job will become a little easier as the fans will be sure to take to him.
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