Serbia boss warns Scotland that Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is not their only dangerman ahead of Euro 2020 decider
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Serbia boss Ljubisa Tumbakovic has warned Scotland that Aleksandar Mitrovic is not the only dangerman he has ready to shoot down the Tartan Army’s Euro 2020 hopes.
The Fulham striker needs just two goals to equal his country’s international scoring record having hit 36 in 59 appearances so far.
But Tumbakovic says Steve Clarke will be making a mistake if he thinks the 26-year-old is the only threat when they meet in Thursday night’s play-off final at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.
Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is set to come up against Scotland on Thursday night
‘We have no secret aces up our sleeves,’ said the Eagles boss. ‘Each of the players can do equally as good as Mitrovic can.
‘In the past few months, Mitrovic has been the guy scoring the goals but that doesn’t mean that another player can’t do the same.
‘It’s probably the case that our opponents aren’t quite familiar with our players so they will probably try to close down all of them.’
Scotland are aiming to break a 22-year wait to reach a major finals but Tumbakovic is excited about leading his national team to his first tournament since being appointed last year.
Serbia boss Ljubisa Tumbakovic says the Fulham striker is not their only dangerman
And he has promised to bring Clarke’s men to heel.
‘Yes it’s the biggest match of my coaching career,’ said the 68-year-old for Partizan Belgrade boss.
‘For someone of my age I’d say that is one of the most important matches I’ve been involved in.
‘We have also played a number of matches that have been equally decisive but this has special importance and significance.
‘We have been looking at the Scots for a long time and we will do everything possible to bring them under control.
‘That’s part of our strategy and if we’re successful in this we will without doubt achieve the result we want.’
Steve Clarke’s Scotland face Serbia in a Euro 2020 qualification decider this week
But Ajax star Dusan Tadic admits the clash is likely to be a tense affair, saying: ‘In finals there are no favourites, it’s a 50/50 match.
‘We love the game, we love the pressure, we love the tension. We’re used to it. Of course we want to win and we’ll do our best to.’
Tumbakovic was left sweating earlier this week when it was reported four of his key Serie A-based men – Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergej Milinkovic Savic, Nikola Milenkovic and Dusan Vlahovic – would be barred from leaving Italy following the introduction of strict new coronavirus restrictions.
But all four have managed to find their way back to Belgrade and Tumbakovic was especially pleased to see Fiorentina defender Milenkovic – a target for Manchester United, Tottenham and Inter Milan – join up with his team-mates.
He said: ‘Of course I was very relieved to see him join the team because Nikola is a standout performer for this team.
‘Over the last 18 months and the 15 matches he has played with us, he has been a great support for both the team and myself so I was very relieved to see him here.’