On Wednesday afternoon, the Viktorians reached Tel Aviv, Israel. Pilsen will face Hapoel Be’er Sheva F.C. in the Europa League playoffs in the city of Petah Tikva on Thursday. The coach Adrian Guľa and the defender Lukáš Hejda talked about the forthcoming and very important match. Lukáš Hejda scored in the last clash of both clubs.
You can feel great tension, but also excitement and determination in the Viktorian locker room before the important match. “The whole team is looking forward to it. We know what we play for and we will give our best to achieve it,” Hejda promised. “Our team has experience we can build on. Such experience from difficult matches can help us succeed,” said the Viktorian defender.
“I could feel the players’ determination, confidence and motivation already during the practice at home. I believe we can prove it on the pitch as well. We want to make our fans happy, show our strength, qualities and determination,” said the coach Adrian Guľa. “We’re looking forward to the match and we believe we can make it,” he added.
UEFA Europa League introduced one-match system in the qualifying rounds this year. Is this specific model difficult for the Viktorians? “Well, it would be better for us, if we played two games, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to give it our best, we want to return to Pilsen as the advancing team,” stated Lukáš Hejda clearly. “I believe we are ready to do everything we can to advance to the next round,” the team coach added.
Viktoria won the last clash of both teams, directly in Be’er Sheva. Lukáš Hejda scored the winning goal as Pilsen won 2:0. “It was my only goal in the UEFA Europa League, those are great memories for me. I hope I can do it again tomorrow,” he said, smiling. The coach has the same opinion. “I hope Hejda will prove his experience and can score once again,” said the main guy of the Viktorian bench with a smile on his face. “We have to work hard and there can be only a win on our minds, nothing else,” he added on a serious note.
Be’er Sheva has fought its way up from the first qualifying round. They defeated Dinamo Batumi of Georgia, Laci of Albania and Motherwell of Scotland with a 3:0 win. “They have couple of players with good technique. They want to play with the ball, so we have to play hard and be patient,” Hejda analyzes. “Be’er Sheva is an experienced team, they’ve been playing the European cups for quite a while. They have a high ball possession and ball control, their strategy is based on technical players and some interesting individuals. But on the other hand, there are no weak teams in the playoffs. The quality is on our side as well,” commented Adrian Guľa.
Viktoria is in a good shape. After the 4:1 win against Bohemians, they defeated the Danish SønderjyskE (3:0) and Zbrojovka Brno (4:1). “The winning streak effects the players positively. It boosts their confidence and the players themselves feel the team’s strength, quality and commitment. These are the elements we can build on. But in the one-match system, the only thing that matters is the shape. I believe we have better shape-timing, than the opponent,” the head coach concluded.