WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Michal Probierz took over as coach of Poland on Wednesday in place of Euro 2016 winner Fernando Santos, who was fired last week.
Probierz’s contract will run until the end of the qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup.
During a news conference, he asked for conditions for “peaceful work with the goal being to qualify for the 2024 European Championship.”
Probierz, who had been in charge of Poland’s under-21 team, admitted the atmosphere around the senior squad was “not very good” and said he wanted the players to come to training camps “with real pleasure.”
He added that he would not be making any “revolutionary changes” and will certainly not change the role “in any form” of talismanic striker and team captain Robert Lewandowski. who recently made critical comments to the media about the atmosphere among the players.
“He is the captain and we will not be suddenly destroying everything,” Probierz said while declaring that “young and hungry” players will be added to the squad.
He also said that former Poland internationals Sebastian Mila and Tomasz Kuszczak would be working among his backroom staff.
Federation president Cezary Kulesza said Probierz would be given “all the tools necessary for the achievement of his goals. I believe that we will go to the Euro (finals) next year.”
Santos, who was in charge when his native Portugal won the Euros seven years ago, was fired last week with Poland fourth in its five-team European Championship qualifying group. He was dismissed after almost nine months in the job.
Probierz, who will be 51 on Sunday, previously coached a string of teams including Greek side Aris Salonika and Polish clubs Gornik Zabrze, Widzew Lodz and Jagiellonia Bialystok.
Kulesza was Jagiellonia president during Probierz’s time at the club between 2008-2011.
Poland is behind leader Albania, Czech Republic and Moldova in Euro Group E qualifying after losing three of its five games, despite three goals from Lewandowski.
Poland next plays rock-bottom Faroe Islands on Oct. 12.
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