No Panic After Defeats But Virtus Need Better Focus

21 April 2009

Virtus BolognaFiere were served up two timely reminders ahead of the EuroChallenge Final Four that any lapse of concentration against Proteas EKA AEL on Friday could prove fatal.

The Italian giants, after almost upsetting runaway Lega A leaders Montepaschi Siena last Thursday, suffered a 93-84 defeat at Carife Ferrara over the weekend.

Virtus coach Matteo Boniciolli said: "On Thursday against Siena we had a drop in concentration and we failed in the key moments of the game.

"When the team takes a breather, they overdo it, as was the case against Ferrara where we only played for 10 minutes in the entire game."

Virtus are still second in Lega A, but have a 17-10 record like Lottomatica Roma and Armani Jeans Milano.

If the defeats have shaken the confidence of Virtus, it wasn't obvious in Boniciolli's remarks.

"My team has played the most crucial games better," he said.

"The game against Roma in the final eight of the Coppa Italia comes to mind.

"We are calm about the future because we know the technical and mental qualities of the group. One of those qualities is honesty.

"The defeat against Ferrara should not hinder the calm atmosphere the team has that has allowed us to be second in the Lega A standings."

The hope in Bologna is that Virtus will win their first European trophy for several years. Even if they beat Proteas, one of the best teams in the EuroChallenge this season, they will have to overcome BC Triumph of Russia or Cholet Basket of France.

"Everyone expects our victory in the EuroChallenge but things on the court will not be easy," Boniciolli said on

"On Friday, we will play against Limassol, a team full of Slavic players with three Americans who want to shine in the Final Four to get a contract next season.

"We will give the best of ourselves to bring back the European trophy to Italy, something that has been missing since 2002, but we have to be aware that our rivals are all of a high standard."

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