While the eyes of the world are focused on the UEFA EURO 2012, new Valletta FC coach Mark Miller has UEFA Champions League commitments, with his side's European campaign getting under way two days after Spain take on Italy in Kyiv.
Just 44 days separate the final of the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League from the start of the 2012/13 first qualifying round, with Maltese champions Valletta taking on Andorran counterparts FC Lusitans on the first night of action. Elsewhere Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange take on San Marino's SP Tre Penne and Belfast's Linfield FC host B36 Tórshavn of the Faroe Islands.
"The first thing we have tried to do is make things more professional and make the players know they are important and provide the best environment for them," English coach Miller told UEFA.com. "The first part of my journey with Valletta will be to take my team into the UEFA Champions League and try to advance through as many rounds as possible. It's one of our president's dreams."
Valletta beat San Marino's SP Tre Fiori at this stage last season, bowing out to FK Ekranas of Lithuania in the next phase. They are one notable man down as they aim for more European success, with midfielder Gilbert Agius having quit football at 38 to act as Miller's assistant, and goalkeeper Andrew Hogg moving to Cypriot side Enosis Neon Paralimini FC.
Miller's side have regrouped, adding Jusselio Da Silva, Riccardo Da Rocha Filho and Jhonnattann to their Brazilian contingent, and bringing in 25-year-old Dutch goalkeeper André Krul. Their preparations for Europe are taking place at the Fgura United complex, a professional training base officially opened by UEFA President Michel Platini earlier this year.
"There are no easy games in football and this will be no exception but I feel we are preparing in the best possible professional way in such a short period of time," added Miller. "Training is in full flight, and we should be ready in time."
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