In a strategic move that paid off handsomely, Slavia Prague’s manager, Jindřich Trpišovský, has revealed that the decision to include Muhamed Tijani in the starting lineup against Banik Ostrava over the weekend was primarily driven by the Nigerian forward’s intimate knowledge of his former team.
Tijani’s transition to Slavia Prague, following his €1.26 million transfer from Banik just last month, had initially seen him warming the bench as a substitute in each of Slavia’s first four games.
However, when faced with his former colleagues from Banik in Sunday’s league showdown, Tijani found himself in the coveted starting eleven.
This gamble proved fruitful, with Tijani securing his debut goal for Slavia in the 47th minute, clinching a crucial victory for the former champions, who extended their winning streak to five consecutive games this season.
Manager Trpišovský expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, explaining the rationale behind his decision to field Tijani.
When questioned by the club’s media about whether Tijani’s inclusion was due to his inside knowledge of Banik’s tactics or any promises made in the locker room, Trpišovský responded with a touch of humor, saying, “I don’t know if he promised anything. If not, they would have pulled him anyway (laughter).
“There were multiple reasons, not just one. He knows many opponents and had a lot of confidence in one player in particular. But there were more factors at play; it was a competitive match, and we believed we could make an impact with a successful set piece.
“Muhamed looked very good in training, was fresh, and the match’s style suited him. The fact that he’s from Baník and knows the players was one of the reasons.”
Tijani scored 11 goals in 32 league games for Baník Ostrava last season and would be keen to repeat that for Slavia.
The Slavists, though, have more immediate pressing matters.
On Thursday, Ukraine club Zorya will arrive at the Fortuna Arena to face Slavia in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League qualifying playoffs.