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    Rahid Amirguliyev: “Doesn't matter who was a skipper in Northern Ireland match”

    'They made it hard for us'

    Baku. 15 November. REPORT.AZ/ Interview of player of Azerbaijan national football squad Rahid Amirguliyev to Report.

    - How could you explain the reason of defeat against North Ireland with cool head?

    - We knew that we would play with strong rival capable of realizing standard situations. Our efforts weren’t enough to prevent them scoring from standard situations. I mean we made mistakes that we expected. I don’t know how to call it: mistake or something else?! But North Ireland had clear advantage in standard situations. We knew that they are strong in this.

    - You mean this was as easy for them as 2x2…

    - They are all tall players. Of course, it is possible to play. But we made mistakes; we didn’t play right way and conceded goals.

    - But it wasn’t first time you met these players…

    - I am trying to say the same. We made mistakes somewhere, and conceded those goals. We knew their strengths.

    - What was the main reason of defeat: absence of tall players in the team or incompact play in midfield? May be you couldn’t stop long balls?

    - I wouldn’t say that we played wrong in midfield. If we conceded goal, it means we made a mistake. They knew how they could score against us. They played long balls from the very start of the game. They won a lot of corner kicks. We cannot blame only defenders. This is mistake of all team.

    - Which manager analyzed the rival better before North Ireland match?

    - We knew their advantage: we knew they are strong in standard situations and in the air. But we couldn’t stop them anyway.

    - Did they succeeded in taking measures against our strengths?

    - Yes, they did, as we couldn’t score. We had one or two opportunities to score. But it never happened. I wouldn’t say they shut down the midfield. They didn’t allow us to play comfortably.

    - This was third game you started as skipper of national squad…

    - Yes, I started as skipper in games with Moldova and Czech Republic. We won in one of them, tied a draw in the second. This time we lost. We targeted a good result. But it didn’t happen. I feel very bad because of this defeat, not only as a skipper, but first of all, as a player of the team. Everybody was expecting from us good result after three successful games. We also wanted to reach something. But it didn’t happen; we are disappointed.

    - Rain was falling during almost all the game. How the weather affected the game?

    - I wouldn’t say that we lost because of weather. Because we played a lot in rainy weather. We could do nothing in first half. In second half we almost recovered, but we missed chances to score and conceded third goal. So this is the result.

    - When Rashad Sadigov is on the pitch, he shouts on players, gives some instructions. But you seem a too polite towards your teammates …

    - Of course Rashad is experienced, and he is a captain for a long time. He has leadership features. It is not correct to compare me with him. He can act as a leader. His absence also affected us negatively. If he was on the pitch, the things could have been different.

    - So you accept that you are not yet ready to be skipper?

    - Telling I am not ready... Nothing could change if someone else wore the ‘band’. We can’t say that if some other player was a captain, the result would be different. If I know we can win with other teammate being a captain, I will say ‘make him a captain’. Because result is what matters. It wasn’t important who was captain in Northern Ireland match.

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