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His reign got off to a disastrous start with his side 3-0 down after less than 20 minutes at home to Switzerland in their opening World Cup qualifier last week, before losing 3-1, which they followed up with a 2-0 loss to Italy in their second qualifier on Sunday.
Warren Feeney’s immersion in all things Bulgarian football was cranked up a notch at the weekend.
Ahead of Bulgaria’s visit to Windsor Park for a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on Wednesday, the country’s new manager Yasen Petrov invited Feeney to lunch, with the added bonus of a meeting with an iconic World Cup star for the east Belfast native to enjoy.
A side of the calibre of the 1994 vintage, which lost to a Roberto Baggio-inspired Italy in the last four at USA 94, must feel like something of a pipedream for Bulgaria supporters currently.
One of the features of Bulgarian football that has struck Feeney most glaringly — and one that he has tried to address in his Pirin side — is the lack of aggression in their style of play.
While still getting used to the Bulgarian public’s reaction to losing football matches, Feeney backed Petrov to turn things around, though he is hoping that will not begin against Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
There was a positive response from the public to Petrov’s appointment as new national team manager in January, but their long run of poor results has continued in his first two matches.
Never one to try and over-complicate the game, Feeney — who says his Scottish physio will be his only fellow Northern Ireland supporter watching the game in Bulgaria — is clear on what Baraclough’s men need to do to get a win.
He believes this has been reflected in a national side which is 23 positions below 45th-placed Northern Ireland in the Fifa rankings, but they do not travel to Belfast without a warning from the former Luton Town and Bournemouth forward of the threats they pose to their hosts.
The former Northern Ireland international is on course for promotion to the country’s top flight in his first full season in charge of Pirin, with his side sitting top of the Second Division.
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