Turkey counting on coaching input from outside says new national coach Kuntz

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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Oct 2 (Xinhua) -- To secure Turkey's 2022 World Cup participation is a mental challenge, says newly promoted national coach Stefan Kuntz.

The 58-year-old German intends to strengthen the mental state of his players ahead of the crucial qualifier against Norway on October 8th.

"It's about taking the pressure on my shoulders and allowing the team to perform without having to bear too many expectations," the former German under-21 coach said.

Turkey's wavering performance of the past months indicates a mental issue, he added.

"Beating France, Norway, and the Netherlands, then perform rather poorly at the 2020 Euro and losing 6-1 to the Dutch side with the same players might tell the story," the former striker commented.

As the successor of Turkish coaching icon Senol Guenes, he is expected to provide additional outside input for the Turkish national team.

"The Turkish association intends to gain new inspirations," Kuntz said. His successful way dealing with young players might have delivered additional reason to sign him, the German added.

Kuntz won the under-21 European Championship with Germany in 2017 and 2021 aside from reaching the final in 2019.

Aside from the 2022 World Cup participation, Turkey and Kuntz are aiming at setting up a rejuvenated squad for the 2024 European Championship.

Turkey needs to gain three points in his home game against Norway to stay in the race for the Qatar World Cup.

Eleven points make Turkey third in their group behind the leading teams Norway and Netherlands (13).

The former Besiktas striker (1995-1996/nine goals) praised the collaboration with Turkish national team manager Hamit Altintop.

Kuntz said the language barrier isn't really existing as Germany-born Altintop is speaking fluently German.

The former Bayern Munich and Real professional and 10 Turkish national team members speak German. In addition, former Hannover 96 coach and new assistant coach Kenan Kocak, is responsible for a close relationship with Turkish club coaches.

Kuntz intends to uncover the enormous potential of Turkish talents, he said. "The country has many talents aside from up to ten experienced players currently playing for top European sides," the German added.

Kuntz said the duel against Norway next week is decisive and, he is aware of the huge expectations. "It might be one of my tasks to dampen some of the exaggerated expectations, if possible."

The German praised the enthusiasm of Turkish fans but said a realistic view must come with an excessive mood.

"It might require patience if we don't make it to Qatar. But to qualify for the 2022 World Cup remains the first goal," the former German international stated.

To face Norway with Erling Haaland is a challenge, but Turkey will find answers. "Haaland is one of Europe's best strikers. But we have to remember, Turkey managed to beat Norway on their home-ground with Haaland."

Kuntz is eager to meet his entire team this weekend after their club games. "Until then, it's about collecting as much information as possible. From Monday on, it's only about creating a robust spirit for the team." Enditem

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