Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zico Confident About Team's Lineup

Zico Confident About Team's Lineup
By Nathan L. Redd

Following Fenerbahce's 2-1 defeat of Gaziantepspor over the weekend, Zico remained confident about his choice of the starting eleven. After the game, Zico told reporters “The most important thing in tonight's game was the players' ambition to win. The fans appreciated this and supported the players until the final whistle. It was a well-deserved victory."

Zico had intimated that he may make several changes in last weekend's lineup, but no one expected an entirely different starting eleven. Fortunately for Zico, it paid off and showed the depth of this year's squad. Last season Fenerbahce was plagued with injuries to key players such as Alex de Souza, Stephen Appiah, and then-goalkeeper Rustu Recber. Zico said this was a factor in his decision to give the usual starters a rest against Gaziantepspor. “Last season we had difficulties when some of the players were injured or suspended. We kept this in mind when establishing this season's squad. Tonight we showed that Fenerbahçe has more than one team to compete at the highest level" he told the media.

Zico spoke to Fenerbahce TV over the weekend and said "We deserved the three points by defeating Gaziantepspor in our stadium. We could have scored even more goals. My players reflected their creativity on the pitch. We really deserved to win. Every Fenerbahce player is very talented and deserves a chance to prove it on the pitch. During the trainings the footballers get to know each other and today they showed that they work in harmony. If you watch FB TV regularly, you won't be surprised about today's squad. I let the substitutes play today because they deserved it. We have greater aims and you cannot stick with 11 players during the whole season. You have to have variations. I am satisfied with the engagement of my players who really proved that they want to win."

The lineup changes may have also been a ploy by Zico to "light a fire" under the starters as well as give confidence to the reserves. Kemal Aslan commented after the game that "Today our head coach Zico gave me a chance to play, so I did my best and scored a goal. I am very glad that we did not let Zico down." After his first-ever start for Fenerbahce, new signee Yasin Cakmak stated "Our head coach Zico gave us this chance to play. So we did our utmost not to disappoint him. We will also continue on working very seriously." His teammate Gurhan Gursoy said "'We had to fight in order to prove that we are a united team. There are no substitutes in Fenerbahce, everyone can play at any time. We want to dedicate this victory to our President Aziz Yildirim and the directors. Our head coach Zico has told us that we will get the chance to prove our skills on the pitch. So we were really motivated and worked hard."

Up next for Fenerbahce is Sivasspor, who visits Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on Saturday.


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