FK Partizan Sports Director Ivica Iliev talked with media reps in regard to Partizan Conference League round 1 win over Cypriots Anorthosis and other ongoing topics.
Your first impressions after last night`s win?
“I`m pleased as everyone is, this is a great result. We were optimistic ahead of this game and ahead of Conference League start overall. Competition`s qualifiers give us a right to believe we will not only battle to go through, but try to win the top spot and we started the way we wanted. We played better than many would have hoped for, much more assured in our abilities and with more quality compared to our opponents. We controlled the game and had lots of quality opportunities. What really pleases me is that I don`t see no euphoria present at the club, especially among the players, as this is becoming our standard. Our players are not satisfied with this only, they aim for higher things. We have one big game on Sunday, extremely important, as was this one, but Sunday`s game can determine the rest of the season. We achieved big thing qualifying for Conference League and now we started the group stage with a win over one of the two top competitors for the next stage of the competition, we showed our ambitions. Now, on top of important games behind us, we have a derby, the biggest game on Serbian football scene, and this is the match that can take us in the direction we want to go”.
Ricardo keeps scoring?
“I wish him to keep scoring. I think no one in Europe has such stats, he already scored half of the goals he scored for us in his first spell with the club, and he was spectacular back then as well, scoring 26 goals. Now, he`s on 13 goals from 14 appearances. I think Ricardo is having the best time in his career and he is aware of it, as we all are. Ricardo has incredible confidence, our support and positive energy, from everyone within the club, from the stands and public, media reps…Let him keep this way”.
Menig also scored in his first start for the club.
“We needed player of Menig`s characteristics. He looks for depth, plays direct, works well with his teammates, has a great control of the ball…He`s still getting to know his teammates but I believe his performances will grow with time”.
What kind of game you expect on Sunday?
“One of extreme quality, as we are in a rarely good moment for Serbian football. With Partizan and Crvena Zvezda winning, points for Serbian football grow as well as euphoria. You can feel that there`s a faith in quality of football our two biggest clubs are playing. I think derby is coming up in a right moment of time, with euphoria on its highest, when European and domestic ambitions of both clubs are on a very high level. I`d like to see attractive football game with no calculated approach. Both teams have fantastic atmosphere withing the squad ahead of the derby, both full of confidence. Of course, I expect Partizan to win”.
Rumours from Turkish media suggest Adem Ljajic`s return to Partizan. How true is that?
“We are talking about top player who did a lot for Partizan and Serbian national team. At this moment, such option is not realistic. We did our most important job when we were able to register players for European competitions before the deadline. Arrival of Adem Ljajic or anyone else would be fit only for domestic competitions and I don`t think we can talk about it regarding Ljajic”.