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Exclusive: Hungary coach Rossi insists Euros priority over Puskas comparison

They might not be the Magical Magyars of Ferenc Puskás, but it is certainly an exciting time for Hungarian football under Marco Rossi...

After qualifying for Euro2016 - their first appearance at a tournament since the 1986 World Cup - the once great football nation has continued to progress under their Italian manager.

The former Sampdoria and Brescia defender was appointed as Georges Leekens' successor in June 2018 after a two excellent spells with Budapest Honved, which included winning the 2016/17 Nemzeti Bajnokság I title.

One year later and Rossi has the 1938 and 1954 World Cup finalists top of their Euro2020 qualifying group.

Hungary responded from an away loss to Slovakia in their opening Group E game in March by beating last year's World Cup finalists Croatia in Budapest three days later.

It proved not to be a fluke as Rossi's side won both their qualifying matches in June, including a 1-0 victory over Gareth Bale and Wales.

While the results are positive, Rossi told Tribalfootball that his players are firmly focused on the task ahead.

He said: "After the June games I believe that morale is good and there is a bit more positivity on the part of all the components, even if we know that the road is still long and we have not yet reached the goal.

"The boys responded on the field in the way we expected, using motivation, determination and humility, together with their technical qualities."

Rossi has revealed previously about how his grandfather spoke with reverence about Puskas and Hungary.

Also known as the 'Golden Team', Hungary were the dominant team of the 1950s with Real Madrid star Puskas as their primary goal scorer.

While he has been encouraged by their progress, Rossi says it is up to external sources to determine how his team compares to those great Hungary sides of yesteryear.

"Certainly my grandfather's speech was seen as a sign of destiny, but from the moment I wanted to do my job, I would have accepted anyway," Rossi added.

"I believe that these considerations must be made by fans, the press and the federation. We try to work on the head and on the tactic, let's try to put in the field a team that has more certainties and less doubts possible. The rest is the result of the qualities of the boys."

Matteo Vitale
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Matteo Vitale

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