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Confident Recep rallies Turkey

An opening-day defeat by Serbia failed to dent the enthusiasm of Turkey attacker Recep Niyaz, who assured UEFA.com that his team still have designs on the Under-19 trophy.

Turkey's Recep made a strong impact after coming on against Serbia
Turkey's Recep made a strong impact after coming on against Serbia ©Mikhail Shapaev

Despite the disappointment of Turkey's opening Group B defeat against Serbia, attacker Recep Niyaz urged his team-mates to "win two out of two" of their remaining Group B games in order to achieve their semi-final aim.

The Fenerbahçe SK forward's introduction in the 58th minute almost changed the fortunes of a side who trailed Serbia thanks to goals in either half from Andrija Luković and Aleksandar Mitrović. Recep's spirited display and penetrating forward runs eventually led to him striking a fine finish past Predrag Rajković but his effort came too late to change the outcome.

"First games are very important in tournaments and we started ours badly, especially in the first half," the 18-year-old told UEFA.com. "Our opponents looked more ambitious than us while in terms of game play, they were superior. Serbia were dominant and although later on we tried to save a point, there ultimately wasn't enough time."

Impressive displays during elite round qualifying took Turkey into the finals with a perfect record yet starting on the back foot in Lithuania means Okan Buruk's side now need to quickly rediscover their form as they seek to resurrect their hopes of progressing from a section that also contains Georgia and France, who both have a point following their opening draw.

"Our target was winning all three encounters and now we have to win two out of two," Recep explained. "[Saturday's] wasn't an expected result because we came here with high hopes following our 100% record in the elite round; we believed in ourselves. We still want to reach the semi-finals because we came here to win the trophy and I hope we can achieve that."

Having featured in just five Turkish Super League encounters for Fenerbahçe since signing from Denizlispor in 2010, Recep feels he is at a slight disadvantage in terms of sharpness but he nonetheless suggested that belief would be the crucial factor when it came to his country's goal of defeating France on Tuesday.

"Of course I see the disadvantage of not playing regularly in my club; I don't have the game rhythm, and that's a problem for most of my team-mates too," he explained. "However, we came here from the pre-season training camps and are ready. We need to win the games in our heads before actually playing them. We need to believe in ourselves before matches and I hope we can reflect this [attitude] in the tournament."