Manager Vladimir Weiss wants Georgia to realise potential
Georgians welcome Ireland to Tibilisi with three points and plenty of hard luck stories
Georgia’s manager Vladimir Weiss has urged his side to fulfill their potential. Photogaph: Gerard Julien/AFP
Georgia coach Vladimir Weiss is desperate to end the tide of hard luck stories which have plagued the nation’s World Cup qualification campaign.
Weiss’ men host the Republic of Ireland in Group D on Saturday evening still awaiting their first victory and with only three points to show for their six games to date.
However, opposing coaches have repeatedly told their Georgia counterpart that his team has been unlucky and deserves more, and now he is calling upon his players to turn the plaudits into wins.
Weiss said: “Everybody says that, everybody says we played well. We have got potential, we have a good team, but we need results. Nobody pays money for bad results.
“That’s football, that’s life, but we have potential. We have players with two or three years’ experience, we have a lot of talented players — we need to get some results.
“But I have hope for this team for the future — whether I’m here or not is not important — and I believe this team has the potential to be better in the next qualifying campaign.
“But for now, we will play for points and we will play for the honour of the national team and try to get a good result tomorrow.
“We have another three games against Austria, Serbia and Wales and we will try to end the group well.”
Georgia trail Ireland and group leaders Serbia by nine points with just four games to play, but are determined to close that gap before the campaign draws to a close.
Republic boss Martin O’Neill has made little secret of his anxiety about the trip to the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, where his side needed a last-gasp Aiden McGeady strike to win a European qualifier three years ago.
However, Georgia’s task will be made all the more difficult by the absence of key men Giorgi Loria, Jaba Kankava, Tornike Okriashvili and Levan Mchedlidze through a combination of injury and suspension.
Weiss said: “The Irish team has a lot of experience and played very well at the Euros in France. They have a lot of experience on the bench too, a fantastic coach and a fantastic assistant, who I consider to be one of the big stars from Ireland, Roy Keane.
“It’s never easy to play against Ireland. They are a strong team, maybe not technical like our team, but they are strong physically, they are strong in the air and it’s never easy to play against them.
“But we will do everything possible tomorrow. I hope it will be a good match and a good result for us.
“Of course it’s a very difficult situation, but every game that the national team plays is very important. We haven’t had a victory yet, so it will be very important to get that first win.”