Mirkulovski: We are not under pressure to winArticle
«Go back

Metalurg's Filip Mirkulovski speaks about Sunday's Match fo the Week showdown with Kielce

Mirkulovski: We are not under pressure to win

“We play better when we are outsiders,” says Metalurg Skopje player Filip Mirkulovski before the Match of the Week, shown on ehfTV.com on Sunday at 18:00 local time.

When the game between Metalurg Skopje and Vive Tragi Kielce was named the ehfTV Match of the week a few months ago, no one assumed that it would be a lot more than an "ordinary" clash.

Both teams have maximum points after four rounds, Metalurg have proven so far that they will not allow anyone to beat them at home.

It will be a clash of two different styles and tactical approaches. Kielce force a quick counter attack and a fast-paced game, while Metalurg relies on an excellent defense which is the foundation for scoring in the attack.

On Sunday evening in the "Boris Trajkovski" hall more than 7000 fans will be the eighth player for Metalurg, the home team sold out the arena for this game in two hours.

Filip Mirkulovski is a player that will be key in both defence and attack. He is often the target of opponents and sometimes the clashes he is involved in are not light.

ehfCL.com: Are you ready for the next challenge, physically and mentally?

Filip Mirkulovski: “We are still preparing for that match, watching some TV footage of the opponent’s games. Physically we are ready even though we have some injury problems, but I think that all the problems will be resolved before the game.

“Mental preparation is important, we know that it will be a tough game and we cannot afford any errors.”

ehfCL.com: Is there any pressure to win?

Filip Mirkulovski: “We are not under any pressure. Vive Targi Kielce are the favourites. We are not in the mindset that we have to triumph. If we win, it will be a plus, and with this win, we could secure our place in the Last 16, which is our priority.

“We will try to win, although Vive Targi Kielce are slight favourites.”

ehfCL.com: The double header with Kielce will go a long way to deciding Group C. Are you looking towards the possibility of being first in the group at the end?

Filip Mirkulovski: “It could mean a lot, even when we to travel to Poland. If we win, it will be easier. We see this as a double match that will decide who will be first at the end of group phase.”

ehfCL.com: How much harder is it to play when you are the favourite, and are Metalurg the favourites in the first game this Sunday?

Filip Mirkulovski: “We are not the favourites, although the results show that we are in good shape and we play at home. Vive Targi Kielce is a quality team, with internationals from Croatia and Poland. We play better when we are outsiders, we are more motivated, and there is more pressure on the favourites.

ehfCL.com: How different are Vive Targi Kielce to the previous four opponents, in terms of gameplay and tactics?

Filip Mirkulovski: “They are similar to Gorenje Velenje, but the Polish team is much better. They play a tight 6-0 defence, forcing quick counter attacks, through the wings Čupić and Štrlek. Against Gorenje we prevented this, and it will be the our main task, there lies our chance.”

ehfCL.com: Kielce lost in their derby against Orlen, and you lost yours against Vardar. What lessons can be taken from these games?

Filip Mirkulovski: After these defeats, both teams will be looking for a chance to restore confidence. We will pay special attention to Uroš Zorman. We played against him several times, and he caused many problems. If we stop him, we will be close to stopping their team.

Left back Jurecki is also a special player, and we should be careful of him. If our goalkeeper Darko Stanić can save a few of his shots, he will lose confidence and it will be easier.

The loss against Vardar was not a big deal for us and the same goes for the upcoming match. We are going in the right direction.

TEXT: Goran Antevski / cor