Vladimir Petkovic has shrugged off concerns about the distance his Switzerland side have had to travel for their clash with Serbia on Friday, claiming “it’s better not to complain, that’s for losers”.
The Swiss have embarked on a 2000-kilometre journey from their training base in Samara to Kaliningrad for their second Group E encounter having gained an impressive draw against Brazil in their opener.
Serbia’s camp is in nearby Svetlogorsk but Petkovic does not see it as an issue, even though there is also a two-hour time difference from Samara to contend with.
He said: “It’s better not to complain, that’s for losers and we don’t want to be losers.
“We want to be strong against every opponent and we want to show on Friday that we are at a very good level and that we can beat any side.”
Petkovic has a couple of players carrying injuries, one being midfielder Valon Behrami, and said he would only know about their availability following Thursday’s training session.
He also played down talk of Switzerland being favourites against a side he rates highly.
He added: “I think if you want to be the favourite you have to show it on the pitch.
“We have to be confident but full of respect for we are playing against a good team with high-quality individuals.
“I will speak with the players and tell them we’ve had a great match against Brazil but we must now focus on Serbia.”
Kalinjingrad je spreman, a vi??
#Orlovi će danas u 19h po lokalnom (i srpskom) vremenu održati pres konferenciju i nakon nje poslednji trening pred meč sa 🇨🇭 #SrcemSvim #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/tnRPjKXoFM
— Sonja Nikčević, FIFA (@FIFAWorldCupSRB) June 21, 2018
Xherdan Shaqiri, arguably Switzerland’s star man, gave a solid performance against Brazil but Petkovic says the Stoke winger always thinks he can do better.
“I always expect more from him and everyone else in the team,” he said. “But he’s very positive. He’s never satisfied with what he’s achieved, he always wants more. There’s always 10 per cent more you can give and you need to push yourself to constantly improve.”
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer says morale in the camp remains strong and therefore did not need bolstering despite the positive result against Brazil.
He said: “We didn’t need a match to improve the team spirit but a match like that does provide confidence, it was a good first step.
“But that is it. It was an important match but we are now looking forward to the second game.
“Even if we’d lost we would still be in good spirits.”