Having overseen a 5-0 win against Andorra in his first game back in the Turkey hot seat, Fatih Terim is hopeful his side can "achieve the miracle" of sealing a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Despite that victory, Turkey still lie fourth in qualifying Group D, with leaders the Netherlands nine points better off. The situation is urgent for the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists, which is why experienced Galatasaray AŞ coach Terim was brought in to replace Abdullah Avcı last month. Friday's victory against Andorra promptly ended a four-game winless streak, and with three qualifiers remaining Terim is ready for the challenge.
Few, of course, know better than the 60-year-old how to inspire Turkey. The tactician, who will continue as Galatasaray coach, is returning for his third stint at the helm, having previously guided Turkey to their first UEFA European Championship – EURO '96 – and the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2008.
"My principle is to always respond positively when I'm called up for national duty," said Terim. "So whenever I believe there's a need, and if the authorities I'm affiliated with approve such a role, I have no second thoughts. I approached this offer with that philosophy and I'm in charge of the team now.
"Unfortunately, the recent results of Turkey's matches have been below expectations," he added. "Certainly, we are in an undesirable position. Instead of simply making changes to the current team, I think we need to modify the base of the system and our youth development setup. It will be vital to implement the right project with the help of experts in the process."
While long-term change is the goal, short-term needs are the immediate focus and Terim's Turkey face a decisive away meeting with Romania on Tuesday, the second-placed side standing three points clear of the visitors.
"Our main priority is the Romania game and we are fully concentrated on it," said Terim. "It wouldn't be appropriate to discuss tactics, but we should never give up and we should believe in success. Even if the right play and performance don't deliver the result, we will definitely win respect. Our aim is to win both the game and the respect of the people."
Victory in Bucharest could lift Turkey up to second position in the group and instil some all-important confidence ahead of October's final qualifiers against Estonia and the Netherlands. Terim, though, knows that securing qualification is a sizeable task: "Achieving the impossible has always been my target, but what we are chasing now is a miracle and I am aware that performing this miracle depends on several factors.
"My aim is to get the football fans watching an entertaining performance by very talented players who can achieve anything if they really believe and work hard for their goals. If we prepare well and work hard and can put in the effort, I am fully confident that we can achieve the miracle."
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