Bilic warns Croatia not to relax

BY foxsports • November 14, 2011

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has warned his players they cannot afford to relax against Turkey Tuesday night, despite taking a 3-0 lead into the return leg of their Euro 2012 play-off.

Bilic's men all but guaranteed themselves a place at Poland and Ukraine next summer thanks to goals from Ivica Olic, Mario Mandzukic and Volkan Demirel in Istanbul.

The two-legged tie will be completed in Zagreb tomorrow, and although his team are overwhelming favourites to progress, Bilic is taking nothing for granted.

"Turkey are great and will come to Zagreb knowing they need a result,'' he said on the Croatian Football Federation's official website,

"Football is unpredictable so we do not have time to relax. We have to be even better than we were in the first leg, even though we're optimistic.''

Midfielder Danijel Pranjic agreed with his coach, saying: "We need to play as we did on Friday and as if the score was goalless.

"We need to attack them again, wisely, and try to take a hold as soon possible but without rushing things.''

Turkey coach Guus Hiddink has found himself in the firing line following his team's woeful display last Friday.

The Dutchman, who is contracted to the Turkish Football Federation until the end of Euro 2012, was subjected to boos and calls for his resignation from disgruntled fans at the end of the match.

And Hiddink concedes things have not gone to plan during his 18 months in charge.

"Turkish football is dominated by emotions, I knew that when I started,'' he said in quotes reported by Voetbal International.

"You always hope to pull it off, but Turkey has a specific football culture. It was, and is, a challenge to move things in a certain direction.

"You want the players to think differently, more European in some respects. But such a process takes time and that is not always there.''

share story