Belfast Telegraph

Shaqiri's absence won't derail us, says Swiss boss

 

Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri

By Damian Spellman

Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic has warned the Republic of Ireland it would be a mistake to read too much into Xherdan Shaqiri's absence tonight.

The Liverpool playmaker making himself unavailable for the Euro 2020 Group D qualifier at the Aviva Stadium has deprived the manager of one of his most creative talents.

However, he is not the only man missing - Josip Drmic, Timm Klose, Djibril Sow and Steven Zuber are also out - and Petkovic is confident on the basis of past experience that the Swiss can still prosper without them.

He said: "It's not only Shaqiri missing, there are also other players, like Zuber, like Drmic, who are not here. But we have shown in the past that we can handle that and win without important players.

"We have a style of play which doesn't depend on one single player. We have shown the past several times that we can replace missing players.

"There is no anxiety because Shaqiri is missing. We are used to replacing missing players, even Shaqiri."

Nor is skipper Granit Xhaka too concerned by the absentees as he and his team-mates attempt to close a six-point gap on the Group D leaders.

Xhaka said: "These players are missing, but we have other players who can compensate for their absence.

"We know we can win games without these players.

"This Irish team is physically quite strong, but we will find a solution to combat that."

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