The Turkish national team beat Croatia 1-0 away from home in the Euro 2024 Group D qualifier on Thursday.
Vincenzo Montella took charge of his first game since being appointed manager of Turkiye, replacing Stefan Kuntz who was sacked last month.
Montella got off to a flying start beating Croatia away for the first time in the countries history.
The Italian manager received widespread praise for his changes and tactical preparation.
After the game Montella was full of praise for his players.
He said: “We had a very difficult match. Croatia had not lost in the matches it hosted in the European Championship qualifiers. We had a team that fought to the end. They also showed this spirit on the field. I would also like to thank the national team family. We showed unity and we were able to win.”
He also urged his team to now focus on the next game against Latvia which could see Turkiye qualify depending on results in the other games.
“We have a team that is open to learning, this does not always happen. We are happy. We will celebrate, but we also need to think about this, we have a match in 3 days. We need to leave the celebrations to the match after the match. We dreamed of that moment. We could have scored another goal in the first half, the last minutes were a little tiring. We have such a proud football group,” he said.
Drawing attention to the Latvian match that will be played at home on Sunday, Montella said, “I am very happy that we will go to Konya. I was there 10 days ago. I saw how much they love the national team.”
Stating that they will prepare better for the next match, Montella said, “The next match will be the most difficult match because you are playing with the last of the group. We need to gather our energy and prepare well for this match. I can say that I am happy. Two very close countries (Turkey-Italy). There are more to 2032. It will also be good for Turkey.”
Montella also downplayed the idea that Turkiye will finish the group as leaders as Croatia have a game advantage still but did not rule it out.
“Can we go as a group leader? Actually, we can’t say no. For now. Croatia has a match, we have one,” he added.