Michał Białoński, Interia: What were your impressions after the Roma – Liecester City match? You came across a memorable match. Roma has not played in the final of the European competition for 31 years, to which she was promoted on Thursday. In addition, the Polish representative, Nicola Zalewski, played an important role in its success.
Czeslaw Michniewicz, the coach of the Polish national team: The atmosphere and environment of this match were fantastic. My first time was Stadio Olimpico. I even asked Nicola Zalewski if they always had this kind of atmosphere.
And what did he answer?
– That she was special in the match against Leicester City. Everyone in Rome dreamed of playing in the Conference League final. It is known that in terms of ranking this is the third match in Europe, but the final is the final, after that you can increase the Conference League Cup. I’m glad Nicola had the chance to play in such an important game and to see him against a solid opponent.
Met the “Polish Mourinho” – as you even call the English press, with Portuguese?
– It hasn’t arrived. For the simple reason: I didn’t want to disturb the game. No coach likes to be harassed the day before an important game. The next day, on the other hand, I had a tight schedule. First met Nicola, then Bartek Bereszyński, who Sampdoria came to Rome for a match against Lazio. We have agreed with Jose that we will see you in Tirana, after the Conference League final that he won.
Do you have the satisfaction that Mr. Leicester City were the first to beat Legia in the UEFA Europa League?
– I talked to Nicola about it, we both decided that he is a strong rival. Mourinho played with him in his own way, ie he scored a goal, withdrew and played on the counter. Leicester was unable to create a situation for itself. That’s why Roma deserved to win.
How do you explain the fact that Nicola did not shine in the youth club in March, and now he is a hit in Serie A. Italian politicians and journalists are starting to blame him for choosing to play for Poland, not Italy, which – according to them – should not happen. Where did this explosion of form come from?
– Roma is a very media club. I have experienced it myself. I spoke to an Italian journalist. A few local radio stations still care for Roma, they just talk about her. There are also newspapers and portals dedicated to this club.
And when it comes to sporting level, a guy with a lot of potential should play in this position (left pendulum – editor’s note). He is not afraid of duels in attack, although it is worse in defense. He has to work on it and he is aware of it. But if he continues to play on the team that has a shot at winning the Conference League Cup, that means sportsmanship… is getting closer to first representation – so to speak. And when it comes, we’ll see.
The former president of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Boniek, claims Nicola would do better in the middle of the second line, in the 1-4-4-2 system. He adds that Zalewski needs special guidance, a good hand from the trainer, because of his calm nature. Do you also have the impression that this is a calm, quiet footballer?
– I asked him how he perceives the confusion about himself. In order not to be noticed, he came to the meeting with a hood and dark glasses, and yet people recognized him. Nicola is a very humble boy. He has a sense of Polishness. When we spoke, he emphasized that he had come to the youth camps of the Polish national team from the fifteenth year of his life. He listed the coaches with whom he worked in Poland. He dreamed of playing for the Polish national team from the very beginning. It’s not like he remembered us now, because we’re going to the world championship. The fact that he has gone through all our youth teams is a testament to his approach and with that he can impress.
I spoke to Zalewski for the first time today. You can tell he is a very humble boy. Like a baby. I have a son his age so I enjoyed talking to him.
Nicola made his debut for the Polish national under-17 team five years ago with Przemysław Małecki, your former Legia assistant. Have you talked to Małecki about Zalewski?
– No, I spoke to the sports director of the Polish Football Association, Marcin Dorn, who knows Nicola well. Bartek Zalewski also knows him well, I also spoke with Bartek. We will follow Nicola’s development closely.
The interview was conducted by Michał Białoński, Interia
Also read: Boniek about Zalewski: He is making huge progress, but in football he is still a child