(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Moti Ivanir knows anything short of immediate success won’t be good enough as he
prepares to make his debut as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
yellow-and-blue visit Bnei Sakhnin in Premier League action on Saturday, looking
to win consecutive matches for just the third time this season.
officially took charge of Maccabi on Tuesday, a week after the sacking of Avi
Nimni, and understands he will not be given even one day of grace as he attempts
to turn the dysfunctional squad of stars he inherited into a team that is at
least equal to the sum of its parts.
“I have only coached the team for
two days so it wouldn’t be serious to speak about the changes we will see in the
team against Sakhnin,” Ivanir said.
“It takes more time than that for a
team to understand what the coach wants from it. We will do everything we can so
that the team will play better, but we can’t guarantee that it will happen
Our job is to make sure the side plays well and the players’
job is to play their heart out.”
Maccabi claimed a 1-0 victory over Betar
Jerusalem on Monday under interim coach Itzik Ovadia – who has since left – and
will surely be confident ahead of the match against Sakhnin.
the northerners 4-0 when the teams met earlier this season, the only time Tel
Aviv has scored more than two goals in a league match in the current
“I told the players that you can have good or bad days but
regardless you have to leave everything out on the pitch,” Ivanir said. “There
is no excuse for not giving your all and I told the players I expect this from
Tel Aviv has plenty of ground to make up on league-leader Maccabi
Haifa, which holds an eight-point cushion on the yellow-and-blue and will be
expected to win once more when it hosts Hapoel Beersheba at Kiryat Eliezer
Stadium on Saturday.
Haifa has won six straight matches, scoring three
goals in five of those wins, and after a rocky start to the season seems to be
finally hitting top form.
Elisha Levy’s team could only manage a 1-1 draw
at Beersheba earlier this season, but will be a firm favorite on Saturday
against Nir Klinger’s team, which has won just one of its past five
Hapoel Tel Aviv, which trails Haifa by two points, hosts
Hapoel Acre on Monday.
Uri Malmilian seemed to have managed to steady the
ship at Betar Jerusalem, but after winning three straight matches the team from
the capital has plunged into yet another crisis.
Betar has won just once
in its past four contests and even in that one win over Ironi Kiryat Shmona it
was extremely lucky to get away with the three points.
Jerusalem will be
desperate to avoid the relegation-playoffs at the end of the season, but it
already finds itself four points back of 10th placed Maccabi Netanya and safety,
and faces another difficult match against Maccabi Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium
Petah Tikva beat Betar 2-1 when the teams first met this
season, and despite losing two straight matches, Freddy David’s side has got
more than enough quality to leave Teddy with all three points.
snapping its five-game winless streak last week, Kiryat Shmona goes in search of
its second straight victory when it visits Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday, while
Hapoel Ramat Gan hosts Hapoel Ashkelon and Hapoel Haifa faces Bnei Yehuda at
Ashdod SC welcomes Netanya on Sunday.