The exclusive interview of Armenian national team head coach for FFA official site.
- Mr. Minasyan, what do you think about the match against Luxembourg?
As you know, main goal of the official matches is the result, and the victory is very important. On the contrary, in friendly matches we try to solve another, maybe more important problems. If we speak about the match against Luxembourg, we have to mention 3 main factors. First of all, we had new players, whom we had to watch. The second is that there were problematic positions, which we should have worked and paid attention on. And finally, as the national team players don`t gather very often, this was a good opportunity to see the players acting and to try to strengthen the cooperation among the lines. Hence, the result could be secondary, but in spite of this I told the players before the match that it is very important to win this game, as it gives extra confidence to our team. The players should always have winner's psychology, it doesn't matter who is the rival.
- So what was the reason Armenia wasn’t able to beat Luxembourg?
The main reason is that most of the players, except Henrikh Mkhitaryan aren't in a good fit, as they are still in the pre-season phase in their clubs. When I compare with last year's matches, when we played against Serbia and Canada, at that time functional condition of the players was better, as we were playing at the end of February, and in the pre-season phase, even some weeks are very important to get better fit. But, actually I don’t want to justify our players, that’s why I told them after the match, that in spite of all those circumstances, and even taking into consideration, that Luxembourg League is in the process, we had to beat that team.
- What is the reason, it is difficult for Armenian national team to play against the teams with good defense.
Of course, it is better to score a quick goal to make them play open . Though the match against Andorra showed there are teams, tha don`t play attacking football even if they accept an early goal. In general, even for the teams of higher rank it is difficult to play against the teams with mass defence. But even in spite of that fact our forwards were able to find territory through Luxembourg defenders. The point was that there were problems at the final phase of attack.
- Let's speak about players՚ positions particularly. What was the reason Arsen Beglaryan didn’t get a chance to take part in the match, while Roman Berezovsky played the whole match instead?
First of all, I would like to say, that it's already a great experience for Arsen Beglaryan to train and spend time with national team player. Our aim of inviting him to this camp was not only getting acquainted with his playing style but also with his personal characteristics: how he communicates with the playmates, how he behaves himself in different situations. And I have to say, that Arsen made a good impression, especially taking into consideration the fact I didn't know him well, and have only seen him in the game. I think, Arsen has good perspectives, but he should still show his abilities in Armenian U-21. I know the playing qualities of Gevorg Kasparov well, and it was out of sense to watch him again. As about Roman Berezovsky, he is our “number one”, and if he is invited to the national team, he is supposed to play. His presence in the team is always important for me, as he is a very experienced player and has an important role in the team. The same explanation refers to the disqualified players: Hrayr Mkoyan, Karlen Mkrtchyan and Artur Edigaryan were invited to this camp. The fact that the main players are with the team is very important for us.
- What will you say about the problems with full-backs?
We watched two players in this position, but it is possible that another player will start the next match in this position. If you remember, at the end of the last year I told, that we can also use a midfielder in that position. I meant Kamo Hovhannisyan, because his playing abilities let him play both as a defender and midfielder, but as we have a problem in left back’s position, Kamo started to play in that position. Shortly speaking, the problem of the right full-back is not solved yet. We have one more candidate for the left back’s role: Arthur Avagyan, FC Gandzasar player, whom we still have to watch.
- What is your first impression of Artyom Khachaturov?
Of course it's difficult to form an opinion just by one match, but he has good qualities, is young enough and we still consider him as a possible candidate for the national team. He has good skills playing with the ball, and good first pass. I think he can be useful for the team. His personal qualities are also very important, he got along with the team very soon and in made a positive impression in general.
- What will you say about Karen Muradyan?
Karen also made a good impression. There was some kind of nervousness in his play during the first 20 minutes, but it’s normal, as it was his first match in the national team. In the second half his play was promising.
- Does it mean, that in the match against Czech Republic we will see the same couple of central midfielders? Karen Muradyan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
It's a difficult question. Of course I'd like to have 2 defensive midfielders of Karlen Mkrtchyan’s and Artur Edigaryan’s claas. At that time my only problem would be Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s position, but unfortunately we don't have big choice. That’s why I think your version is the most possible. But it’s still possible that something will change before the match against Czech Republic. We should understand that, that Henrikh’s play as a defensive midfielder is relative as he has a tendency to attack more.
- Is it possible to try Artyom Khachaturov in that position?
We were thinking about it, but after the trainings and after talking to the player himself, we understood that it is more comfortable for him to play as a centre-back.
- What is your opinion about Norayr Aslanyan?
It’s important that Aslanyan was eager to join the national team and got along with the players quite easily, but I think he needs some more time to adapt the play style of our team. We will give him that time. After the match I told him, that we will go on watching him and consider him as a candidate of the national team. By the way, I know that in his club he plays in the centre as well, but since the player of that position has the function of playmaker in our team, and in his club he plays as the second striker, so we decided him to use him on the wing. Besides, he himself told us, that he feels better playing on the wing.
- What is your opinion about Edgar Manucharyan as a forward?
We all know, that Edgar Manucharyan is a forward by his origin, and started playing exactly in that position. Then he moved to Ajax, and started to play as a right forward. Manucharyan is a player who can easily play in both positions. Just when playing as a midfielder he has to defend as well, but he doesn't manage to do it well. The same problem was with Aras Ozbilis, as like Manucharyan in Ajax, Aras didn't play as a midfielder, but played as a forward, and the functions of these 2 positions are quite different. The FC Kuban coaches as well as I also demand from Aras to pay more attention to defense, and I have to say he has progress in this aspect.
- What is the next phase of preparation for the match against Czech Republic ?
First of all we should understand how Czech Republic will play strategically. It depends on who will play in the centre of midfield. It was interesting for me that some of their key players didn’t take part in the match against Turkey, so we should explore our opponent better in order to understand whether it was just an experiment of the coach or maybe they will play against us with some changes in the squad, especially in the attacking line, as there were some unfamiliar players. Referring to our programs, this time we decided to start our campaign on the 19th of March, and on the 21st of March we will play friendly match against Armenian U-21 team and we'll try make final decision abou the squad.
- Will Mikhail Markosov be invited to the National team for the match against Czech Republic?
As you know, Markosov had also been invited to Valance but unfortunately, because of some technical problems he couldn't join us there. I even agreed to his coming late, as I wanted him to play even for some minutes and at least to get acquainted with national team players, but unfortunately it didn’t go well. However I told him that we consider him as a candidate for the national team and he will be invited to the up-coming campaign.
- What about Edgar Malaqyan and Zaven Badoyan, who weren't invited to the National team this time.
We consider both of them as full members of the team, and they may be invited to the national team later. Just the amount of players is limited, and this time we decided to try Norayr Aslanyan in the left winger`s position.
- Are there any other players who may be invited for the match against Czech republic?
For the up-coming campaign we are going to invite FC Hansa player Sargis Adamyan, firstly to U-21 team. If he acts well, he will get chance to be invited to the national team. Some players from Armenian Premier League, who will show up well may also be invited to the national team for the match against Czech Republic. In general I'd like to say that we focus our attention on both, the players from Armenian premier league and the ones who play abroad as well. We want to give a chances to all of them, but we should understand that it's not obligatory that a player who scored a goal or the one who showed a good performance, must be invited to the national team. The national team is another level. and here should play only best of the best.