A Very Good Week

Romain Saiss reflects on a successful international break as Morocco qualifiy for the 2018 World Cup.

Goals from Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia secured a 2-0 victory for Morocco at Ivory Coast on Saturday and ensured that Saiss’ national side finished top of their qualifying group with maximum points.

Morocco navigated the six fixtures against Mali, Gabon and Ivory Coast, home and away, without conceding a goal.

Discussing Morocco’s success, Saiss said: “It was amazing because Morocco has waited for 20 years to get to the World Cup.

“When we got back to the airport there was between two and three thousand people. The reaction of the fans was amazing.

“It was a hard group. A lot of good teams with good players.

“We played the six games very well and didn’t concede any goals and we knew the last game was important because Ivory Coast needed to win.

“We had maybe 6,000 fans at the Ivory Coast game which is incredible as it’s far for our fans to go.

“Everything was perfect so it was a very good week for me and for the Moroccan people.”

Saiss, who has been featuring in centre midfield for Wolves, has played at centre back for Morocco since his return to the national side.

But the 27-year-old explained that he is happy to play in any position if it allows him to feature for his country.

“I have played at centre back since I’ve been back with the national team and with the new coach,” he said.

“It’s not a problem when you play for your country. If the coach asked me to play as a goalkeeper it’s no problem, if he asks me to play as centre forward it’s no problem.

“I just want to play and give everything on the pitch.

“It’s not totally different from the midfield, I just think you have to run less at centre-back so the recovery is easier afterwards.

“I really enjoy it and I think it’s good for me, for the club and for the country.

“I think the Championship and the qualifying in Africa are similar, there are a lot of duels and a lot of strong players, it’s just the pitches that are a bit different.

“When I come back to England I am happy because I can see the good pitch.

“It’s not totally different and, when I go to the national team, I try to play like I play with the club.”

Saiss is now turning his attentions back to club football and Wolves’ Sky Bet Championship campaign.

“Now I have to switch back to club football because we have an important objective,” explained the midfielder.

“We have to continue like we played in the last game and I am confident in my teammates.

“I’m really happy at the moment, everything is good, life is good.

“I think it’s the best time in my career. Last week was the best moment because we qualified for the World Cup – the best competition.

“With the club, we are competing at the top of the league so everything is good at the moment.

“The coach wants a team who will play out from the back and every player in the team enjoys this so it makes it easier on the pitch.

“If you have a coach that doesn’t want to play and you are a player that wants to play football, it’s difficult to see a good team on the pitch.

“Every player is happy with the coaching staff and, after on the pitch, it’s normal to enjoy it when you play.”