Serbia boss Stojkovic: Of cour...


Serbia boss Stojkovic: Of course I would not be satisfied with a draw

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Serbia head coach Dragan Stojkovic says he won't be satisfied by a draw with the Republic of Ireland. 

The sides meet in Belgrade in Wednesday night in their first 2022 World Cup qualifier.

Serbia haven't started a World Cup qualifying group with a win since they beat the Faroe Islands at the Red Star Stadium in September 2008.

Since then, campaigns have begun with draws against Scotland and Ireland.

"I was not aware of that 'tradition', Stojkovic told Tuesday evening's press conference, "But traditions like that are made to be broken for your own benefit."

The man known at home as 'Pixie' was asked if he'd be happy with a draw this time around.

"Of course I would not be satisfied with a draw," came his reply.

"We're going to do everything that we can to start these qualifiers with a win, but it's not going to be an easy task."

It was a sentiment echoed by his new captain, Ajax forward Dusan Tadic.

Recalling the 2-2 draw with Ireland in 2016, he said, "Yes, we were losing that game and at the time we were happy to come away with a draw.

"We want more this time. We are looking for the win."

Earlier in the day, Stojkovic's opposite number Stephen Kenny confirmed that Mark Travers will start in goal at the Marakana.

The Bournemouth goalkeeper has only played eight league games this season, and all of those came on loan at League One side Swindon Town.

Stojkovic was asked if it's a positive that he's coming up against someone who is effectively a 'third tier' goalkeeper.

"Actually, to be honest, I'm not paying too much attention to the formation of the Irish team," he replied, "What I'm focused on is my own team.

"I know just about enough what a head coach should know, which is absolutely sufficient in terms of tactics and what I should actually be giving to my players for tomorrow night's match.

"I have a lot of respect for the Irish team, but I'm not focused on who is going to be playing in goal for them.

"And a good thing is the goalkeeper is not going to be playing, he's just going to be defending."

Both Serbia and Ireland have been in the same boat this week, given their limited minutes on the training pitch going into Wednesday night's game.

But unlike Ireland, Serbia's players are using what sessions they have to also get used to the methods of a new head coach.

"Of course it's difficult when you only have three days before the match," Tadic said, "And all of us would have wanted to have more time to be able to prepare better.

"But we're not wasting time, and we're going to have two training sessions and prepare our best to listen to everything that is required of us."

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Dragan Stojkovic Dusan Tadic Ireland Qatar 2022 Republic Of Ireland Serbia Stephen Kenny World Cup Qualifiers

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