Turkey boss Senol Gunes looks ahead to Euro 2020

What are Turkey’s chances in Group A?

When you look at the FIFA ranking, all of our competitors in our group are better than us. We are also striving to rise in the FIFA rankings. We are in an interesting group. All kinds of consequences can come. For this, the result we will get in the first match is important. Our draw and victory can cause some confusion in the group. I hope so. All three will be a hard match. If we say, nobody can say anything. It could even be Italy. Wales is also a good team. Their players are in top leagues and exciting. Switzerland also plays football, and so are we. Italy has also made good progress. It comes out of the first and second group. The third best team also has a chance to leave the group.”

Euro 2020: Vladimir Petkovic, Senol Gunes, Roberto Mancini and Ryan Giggs.

What are your targets?

“Five to six points is a big advantage in the group, but it can even score four points. Of course I want to leave the band, but I want to go out with a good game and good football. There may be ups and downs in football, but we want to be a catchy, enthusiastic, passionate and a cute team. We see ourselves as a family team. We want to promote both the country’s football and the country. We want to draw the image of a fierce, enthusiastic, brave, and faithful team. When this game takes us out of the band, we will achieve our main goal. After that, every lap jump is a success for us. I think this team will do their duty very well by participating in the World Cup. All of these will be a test for the players.”

How important is your first match against Italy?

I put the Italy match in a separate place. The other two matches are different. Maybe we will play very well and lose, maybe we will play badly and win or lose. Whether we win or lose, I want to see our strength in the first match. You can lose to Italy but not the end of the world, we have to win the other two matches. Even if we lose to Italy, it’s important to play well. The Netherlands and Norway matches were therefore important. Italy is a young and successful team and they have a good game.

“Participating in the European Championship is a success, but it doesn’t end! You have to take a step there too. It is not something that will be rushed. Patience is a job, work is a job, success. I am not doing this alone. Our president has great support from our management. We are trying to do something with the prayer of this nation and with our efforts. Turkey makes us feel that belief and expectations. We want to reciprocate those feelings.”

Euro 2020: Turkey’s head coach Senol Gunes (C) speaks during a training session at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

Cenk is currently injured and will not be in the championship. After Burak and Cenk, Kenan is followed by Enes. Could it be a surprise name?

“Of course we have new searches. We also have friends abroad. But we will also have quests within our own game. We can play both strikers and one striker. Maybe we can change some variations on offense. In places where we do not have a player, we may also have searches for the game.”

How has Covid-19 impacted on your preparations?

 “Actually, we made all our plans a season ago. While there was no pandemic yet, we had planned the camp period, the organisation, the friendly game. The pandemic followed. All of those preparations were thrown away. But now we are walking on the same organisation. What we are going to do now is to gather with the players of the teams whose league ends on May 18-19. The incident here is that the players will have a holiday request at the end of the season. After such an intense match schedule and a league played with the negativities brought about by the pandemic, they will need to rest. This rest will be mental as well as physical.

“If there is a fall, we will spend a period of one week to 10 days together in the camp, including the families. Of course, pandemic conditions will be decisive in this. Therefore, the main part will start with the preparatory matches. We have matches on the 27th and 30th of May. We will go to the campsite in Germany on the 2nd of June. We will go to Italy on the 10th of the month. Then we will go to Azerbaijan and play our two matches. Things can change due to the pandemic.”

Euro 2020: Head coach Senol Gunes of Turkey reacts during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Hungary and Turkey.

Interview by Samindra Kunti

If you want to read more from Senol Gunes, as well getting the inside track on every finalist ahead of this summer’s tournament, then make sure you pick up a copy of our Ultimate Euro 2020 Guide by clicking here. Don’t forget that you can also keep up-to-date with all of our online coverage by clicking here