Macedonian national team coach Blagoja Milevski at today’s press conference announced the list of summoned players for the upcoming matches, but he also had to give an explanation for some surprising decisions.
photo by FFM: Milevski at a press-conference
Darko Churlinov, who has not played a game since May after recovering from sepsis for five months, is also on the list. He has recovered, he has already returned to training, but his club Burnley did not put him on the Premier League match list at all. However, he is in the national team, while strikers Ilija Nestorovski from Italian Serie B side Ascoli and Dorian Babunski from Swiss top flight side Grasshoppers are left out.
“These are the football players who were also at the previous list. Darko Churlinov, who played for Burnley’s under-23 team, will be with us now. I am happy that he is ready to join the national team. I am sorry that Zajkov won’t be with us, he had an operation, but he feels fine,” Milevski began explaining.
The coach commented on the omission of Dorian Babunski, who has been playing regularly for his club but is not in goal-scoring form and is still waiting for his debut goal after arriving at Grasshoppers at the end of the summer transfer window.
“I talked to Dorian, he’s not on the list, that doesn’t mean he won’t be next time. Babunski’s performance was different at the club and here. I see how the players perform at every meetings and training sessions,” the coach explained.
He also surprised by the not summoning Ilija Nestorovski, who against Italy in Skopje received a framed jersey with number 50 in honor of his 50 matches played in the national team. Milevski didn’t use him against Italy, nor against Malta, and considering that he didn’t even summon him now, Nestorovski will remain with those 50 appearances, for now.
“I also talked with Nestorovski. He is also not summoned for these matches because our tactical idea for these two matches is completely different. Nestorovski has given a lot to this national team and we show respect to him by not sending an invitation just to be here, without the intention of using him.”
He did not comment at all on the newest omission of probably the best Macedonian goalkeeper after Stole Dimitrievski at the moment, David Mitov Nilsson, who is playing in good form for Sirius in Sweden’s top flight. In the last 7 games, he kept a clean sheet on 3 occasions.
“We are not in a crisis with the players we have available. I would say that this is our reality at the moment, although we would all like to have 50-60 players at a qualifier’s level.”
The coach confirmed that Macedonia will go for a win against Ukraine, because that is the only option for Macedonia to maintain the chances for finishing at the top two places before the end of the qualifiers in November.
“We are already entering the closing stage and all the matches are crucial. Only a victory suits us, as well as Ukraine’s, in order to find ourselves in an optimal situation before the November matches. I expect an open game, because none will play for a draw. After this we have the matches against Italy and England, so we will see. The first game against the Ukrainians was analyzed, especially those final 30 minutes. Anomalies and positive things have been noticed. The list of players is also a function of what we are planning. We will have to fix a lot of things from the first match. We want to win, we work only for such an outcome, no matter which opponent we play against. The atmosphere after the September matches is better. The lads brought a positive atmosphere before those two matches,” concluded Milevski.