Two days after his famous rant against the Var, Roberto Martinez was more calm, this Monday evening, in the national stadium in Warsaw. He explained himself and talked about the expectations around his team and the criticism surrounding him.
Roberto Martinez, have you received the explanations requested on the Var lines mentioned on Saturday evening?
“Not yet, but now is not the time. If I said that, it is because I am part of the arbitration board in Belgium. I am in favor of Var and I know that it is not is not easy, there can be human errors in the way of drawing the lines, if it is not well calibrated. We need an automatic solution, from now on, so that the offside is judged as soon as the ball leaves the foot of the player. Yes, I was angry after the game.”
How do you see this match in a full stadium, away?
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to see if we’re ready for the World Cup. It’s the perfect challenge against a team that has experience, against one of the best No9s in the world. We’ll see how we manage the atmosphere, which is close to that of a major tournament.”
Do you feel more public pressure as a result of poorer results?
“No, the pressure always comes from within, we want to be perfect, to be a team that will be competitive at the World Cup. It is close, we may not feel it, but in fact there will be no only seven days after the game on Tuesday. There is no pressure, just a desire to do better. We have to become better defensively as a team. I leave the game against the Netherlands aside; it’s a performance that shouldn’t have happened.”
Do you agree with the idea that your team is not as strong as it was four years ago?
“The debate will take place after the World Cup, not before. The team is four years older, it has more experience. We have to build around what we have. I’m happy with these young people who are coming and bring other things. I expect the team to be stronger than in 2018.”
Do the reviews of the last few days mean that the wait is too high?
“We have high expectations too. We started this Nations League wanting to be top of the group and we’re not there, so I accept the criticism.”
Is qualification for the final phase of the League of Nations, which we could organize if we win the group, still important?
“There are two different things. Preparing for the World Cup, on the one hand. Then, this League of Nations. We know that the winner of this group will host the final phase and we are not ruling that out. It will be an incredible opportunity, it would be a celebration… and it would have a big effect on our infrastructure. We know how important it is. But I know that Germany, France and Italy haven’t won all their games here either, given the level of fatigue. But the reaction was good after the first game even if we were disappointed not to win on Saturday.”