Serbia boss Stojkovic: We know...


Serbia boss Stojkovic: We know how to play football and we will show it

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New Serbia manager Dragan Stojkovic says he's eager for the national team to prove their quality, beginning with their clash with the Republic of Ireland. 

The Yugoslav legend was installed as Serbia boss with fewer than three weeks until the start of their World Cup campaign.

Stojkovic is tasked with picking Serbia up off the floor, after a penalty shootout defeat to Scotland saw them deprived of a place at Euro 2020.

The 56-year old has had spells in charge of both Nagoya Grampus and Guangzhou R&F, but his new gig is undoubtedly his biggest.

He's looking to start his tenure on the right footing.

"The program is very tight, three games in seven days is not an easy task," Stojkovic told Blic, "We have to be patient both physically and mentally, not to mention tactics, system, etc.

"Every next game is the most important, Ireland is the most important for us now, after that it's Portugal, and then Azerbaijan.

"The expectations are high and I deeply believe that the squad can very well respond to the challenges that lie ahead."

Stojkovic was arguably one of the most gifted footballers in the former Yugoslavia's history. He played at the 1990 World Cup, and captained a Yugoslavia side later split into Serbia and Montenegro at France '98.

It's his job, he believes, to restore Serbia to such stages.

"I cannot and do not want to accept the fact that Serbs do not know how to play football," he said.

"It is simply impossible, we know how to play football and we will show it.

"We are starting something very important; I want to restore people's faith and trust that Serbia can to play beautiful, fluttery, dynamic, interesting football, which will, of course, be crowned with good results."

Stojkovic says he's already begun his homework on both Ireland and Portugal, devouring games involving both.

As regards Azerbaijan, he'll tap up his former Red Star Belgrade teammate Robert Prosinecki who managed the team from 2014 to 2017.

Unlike his Irish counterpart Stephen Kenny, Stojkovic appears to have an embarrassment of riches up front.

The Serbia boss says he's enduring a "sweet torment" over who'll be picked for the game in Belgrade. Dusan Vlahovic has scored 12 goals in Serie A this season, including a hat-trick against Benevento at the weekend.

Djordje Despotovic has ten to his name in the Russian Premier Liga for Rubin Kazan, while Luka Jovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic aren't strangers to goal either.

"The good news is that the players in the squad are healthy and there are no injuries, that's most important," Stojkovic said.

Vlahovic is brimming with confidence, and playing like a player 9-10 years his senior according to his new national team boss.

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Dragan Stojkovic Ireland Republic Of Ireland Serbia World Cup Qualifiers

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