New Armenia coach Abraham Khashmanyan warns he “doesn’t believe in being too adventurous in our football” for the final Euro 2020 qualifier with Italy.
It kicks off at the Stadio Barbera in Palermo on Monday at 19.45 GMT.
“We had only two days to train and recover players, so we’ll try to give our best in the circumstances,” said the tactician in a press conference.
“Italy will be highly-motivated, as they won 10 games in a row and can finish the group with a perfect record. I doubt it’s going to be easy for us.”
Khashmanyan made his debut in Friday’s 1-0 home defeat to Greece and made clear he won’t be taking unnecessary risks.
“We are going to play with five defenders again. I don’t believe in being too adventurous in our football, so the idea is to defend and go on the counter-attack.
“Armenia played with the same system for 10 years, so it’s important to have other options. You also know we have many players out injured and can’t do much more than this.”
Roma star Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the most important absentee, but he is joined by suspended Rumyan Hovsepyan, while goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky pulled out due to his son’s ill health.
“Everyone knows that Mkhitaryan is the soul of the Armenian team, a player who brings such valuable experience. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one missing.
“The way I see it, Italy are one of the many favourites to win Euro 2020. Armenia have never played in a particularly risky way and we won’t change that now. We are not here to be sparring partners, we want to defend and counter, trying to get a result.”
Armenia squad for Italy
Aram Hayrapetyan, Gevorg Kasparov, Arsen Beglaryan; Taron Voskanyan, Hayk Ishkanyan, Arman Hovhannisyan, Armen Manucharyan, Arthur Danielyan, Varazdat Haroyan, Hovhannes Hambardzumyan, Kamo Hovhannisyan, Andre Calisir; Petros Avetisyan, Artyom Simonyan, Artak Yedigaryan, Eric Vardanyan, Artak Grigoryan, Edgar Babayan; Gegham Harutyunyan, Tigran Barseghyan, Arthur Sarkisov, Alexander Karapetyan
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