This head-to-head will be crucial. Mandous starts in goal

Before Thursday’s match against Servette manager Jindřich Trpišovský spoke with the media. He revealed the name of the starting goalkeeper and shared his insights about the opponent.

On the opponent

“So far, we have carefully studied the opponent; they have quality individuals in their offensive lineup. We met Servette during winter training, where we played two matches. We faced significant parts of both squads, and Servette has two strong forwards with an excellent attacking midfielder. They are a strong offensive team. In the matches they’ve played, they have been dangerous in attack, especially their two forwards who also complement the penalty area very well. Many of their players can deliver good crosses, so they are a potent attacking team. However, we believe that we will thoroughly test their defense as well.”

On the current form of Servette

“The question is in which lineups both teams will play. Experience naturally plays an important role and can be a deciding factor. On the other hand, at home and especially during a debut in the competition, you always want to showcase your best. So, I would look for the decisive factor elsewhere. Currently, Servette is not in top form, but teams can find their rhythm in games like this one. Your performance grows with the quality of the opponent, so I wouldn’t underestimate them, quite the opposite. I’ve seen Servette’s matches against Young Boys and Rangers, and they are strong in attack. They have quality counter-attacking players and a creative midfield that we need to neutralize. It will be about which team imposes its style on the other and gets closer to its top performance.”

On the starting squad

“We have already informed the players about the starting eleven on Tuesday when we had a tactical training. Regarding the goalkeeper, we have also made a decision, and Aleš Mandous will start. He played very well in the last match and is in excellent form. We will decide about the long term later. Our decisions will be made on an ongoing basis. It is possible that players from the wing positions who have not seen much playing time in the league will get an opportunity. So, it will be a mix of the squad from Pardubice game with some changes.”

On who will replace Ivan Schranz

“I am in a good mood, so I will tell you that it will be someone of a similar nationality as him.”

On Slaviaīs current team compared to the team that reached the Europa League quarterfinals twice

"If Lingr, Jurásek, and Olayinka were here, I believe we would have gone very far. The arrivals we made, such as Chytil, Tijani, or Tomič, have added quality to the team, but in different positions than we had before. Right now, our primary focus is on advancing from the group stage. Only then can we consider what comes next. Just yesterday, we were talking about matches at LASK and Fenerbahce. We havenīt retained many players from that time. We have a different team profile now, but I see great potential. We have a lot of young players rotating in the starting lineup. We have significant offensive potential, which I hope we will demonstrate on the European stage tomorrow. The question will be how we deal with the defensive aspect; European matches are played differently. Offensive players have quality, and the demands on our defensive work, including the goalkeeper, will be high. We will need our defense to support us."

On whether some players will get rest to be ready for the upcoming Derby against Sparta

"We have such motivation for one player. In Pardubice, I felt that he didnīt have the usual mobility we are accustomed to from him. Therefore, he wonīt start at Servette from the first minute; it would accumulate for him. We want him to be 100% ready for Sunday. Instead of him, a player with similar quality will start. If we didnīt have confidence that he could handle the replacement, we wouldnīt do it. Itīs our first match in the group, an important game against a team with which we feel we have a similar performance level. The head-to-head match will be crucial."

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