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Drulović unveiled as the new manager

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Ljubinko Drulović photo: webohrid.comLjubinko Drulović photo: webohrid.comLjubinko Drulović was presented to the press as the latest man to take charge of the Macedonian national team.

If there was a theme to the press conference introducing Ljubinko Drulović, it would be the word "team." Drulović mentioned that on numerous occasions to highlight the importance of teamwork.

He also stated that he will contact Goran Pandev to see whether he will reconsider his earlier decision to retire from the national team. Pandev has not played much for Galatasaray this season, but Drulović and FFM president Ilcho Gjorgjioski noted that the doors to Pandev will remain open on the national team. Former manager Boshko Gjurovski once said that he will never beg a player to suit up for Macedonia, and moved on from Pandev after talking to him just once. We'll see if Drulović has more luck when it comes to Pandev.

The new Macedonian manager stated that his preferred formation is the 4-2-3-1 look. He wants to have a consistent and continues system, but may have to be flexible given Macedonia's personnel.

Since Drulović is Serbian, he was also asked about potential problems with ethnic Albanian players on the national team. Obviously, Macedonia relies on several ethnic Albanian players like Agim Ibraimi, Arijan Ademi, Ferhan Hasani, Besart Abdurahimi and others. Drulović doesn't anticipate any issues, but he said that every player must earn it when it comes to playing for the national team, regardless of nationality. He said he will be professional and expects the same in return from the players.

One possible stumbling block is that Drulović said the U21 team will be given preference. The new U21 qualifications start in June, when the senior national team of Macedonia plays Slovakia at that time. So, if the U21 side gets priority, that means a player like Darko Velkovski, born in 1995, may not be available for the senior squad. However, Macedonia's "A" team will be playing its sixth game in June, while the U21 team will be getting a new qualifying cycle started. Based on that, it is probably the right decision to give priority to the youth side.

The two assistant coaches under Drulović will be Luís Diogo Campos, who Ljubinko knows from his days in Portugal, and Rabotnichki manager Igor Angelovski. Argjend Beqiri will also stay on the staff for his work in recruiting ethnic Albanian players. Angelovski was chosen because of his in-depth knowledge of the Macedonian league. Since Drulović knows little about the players based in Macedonia, he will be relying on Angelovski to help him in that department. Drulović is expected to be in the stands when Vardar hosts Rabotnichki later today.

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