Switzerland Boss Vladimir Petkovic Praises ‘Mental Toughness’ After Late Serbia Victory

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Switzerland Coach Vladimir Petkovic has lorded his team for their positive attitude and winning mentality as they came from 1-0 down at half time to secure a crucial 2-1 win against Serbia in Kaliningrad on Friday.

Goals from Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri secured the three points in their second game of Group E after securing a 1-1 draw last time out against Brazil.

This put Petkovic’s side in a fantastic position as they have a great chance of qualifying for the round of 16.

The Bosnian Coach said that he loved playing in the city of Kaliningrad and has praised his supporters who helped them get across the line.

He said, as quoted by the Daily Mail: “I honestly feel completely depleted. It was an interesting match to say the least. We had a roller-coaster ride. They went 1-0 up and we found our balance in the second half.

“We wanted to fight Serbia but initially we had problems with that. What is important is we have developed this winning mentality even when we are down. We always find a reaction, and this is an important and positive characteristic of my team.”

Asked what he told his players at half-time, Petkovic added: “A healthy dialogue, or monologue if you like, was certainly part of it. I told them I would not be content with a draw.”

Some have interpreted the celebrations of both Xhaka and Shaqiri, both of whom are of Albanian heritage, but Petkovic dismissed the questions.

“It’s clear that emotion shows up and I think we all together need to steer away from politics and football and focus on this sport as a beautiful game that brings people together,” he said.

Switzerland now have an excellent chance to qualify for the last 16, with their final group game coming against Costa Rica, and could even top their group should they win and Brazil’s match with Serbia end in a draw.

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