Matjaž Kek (foto: nzs.si)
Slovenian national team coach Matjaž Kek has drawn a positive outlook from the challenging group Slovenia faces in the upcoming European Championship.
Despite being in a group with formidable opponents, Kek sees an advantage in the fact that some might be underestimating Slovenia.
Acknowledging the difficulty of their group, which includes matches against England, Denmark, and Serbia, Kek admits that the path ahead is not easy. "It's a tough group, but we must be aware of our quality," Kek stated. He emphasized the importance of planning and preparing well for the upcoming matches, including four additional games beyond their January fixture in the USA.
Kek noted that some opponents seemed to smile upon learning they would face Slovenia, including Serbian coach Dragan Stojković. "The English have always been a bit too much for us; we recently played Denmark (a 2-1 loss in Copenhagen two weeks ago) and Serbia embarrassed us last year (a 4-1 loss in Belgrade), but we managed a sort of revenge in Ljubljana (2-2). We face many challenges. Despite the tough opponents, I am taking a team to the Euros that wants to achieve a positive result. Not being favorites suits us in a way. I saw some smiles when they got Slovenia, but maybe they will regret it. We will do everything to make it so," Kek confidently stated.
Kek expressed confidence in the Slovenian Football Association's ability to prepare the team well, ensuring top-notch working conditions. He also hopes for strong support from Slovenian fans. "We can't be disappointed with the draw; we've waited 24 years for this! It was wonderful to see 'Slovenia' written here at the Philharmonic in Hamburg," Kek added.
Kek's optimism and strategic planning for the European Championship reflect his ability to turn challenges into opportunities, setting the stage for Slovenia to potentially upset more favored teams.