After Stuttgart comes Köln: Hertha picked up crucial points against the Swabians and now the focus shifts to the upcoming task in the Rhineland. “We have given ourselves a chance through commitment and hard work. That doesn’t mean that we’re overjoyed, however, but rather still very much focused. We all feel that we are on the right path, and we have to continue on it,” stressed Pál Dárdai after his first win since returning to coach the side. “Teams are able to win every game at the end of the season, and that’s why we’ll continue to fight as long as it’s possible,” he said, also adding ahead of the match on Friday (12/5, 20:30 CEST) against Köln that “they have a good coach, a good team and a good atmosphere there, but we are also playing well. Our boys are fresh and fully fit, especially mentally.” Here is everything the head coach had to say at the press conference on…
…the current mood and squad news:
Pál Dárdai: It was a nice victory against Stuttgart. The fans, staff and players all played their part. In the last five minutes of the game, everyone in the stadium stood up and kept their fingers crossed. We also felt that energy on the pitch and the boys fought hard accordingly. We have given ourselves a chance through commitment and hard work. That doesn’t mean that we’re overjoyed, however, but rather still very much focused. We all feel that we are on the right path, and we have to continue on it. Fortunately, no one picked up an injury. Kempfi is resting for one or two days and that will be enough for him. Marco (Richter) had some muscle problems after a knock, but it’s looking good again for him.
…the pressure in the relegation battle:
Pál Dárdai: There was quite a bit of uncertainty against Bremen after the goals that we conceded. After this game, however, we started to fight and work together. As a coaching team, we tried to show self-confidence right from the start. All of the boys can perform, but psychology also plays a key role, that’s why it was all the more important that we could take the lead once again. Nevertheless, we would have been prepared if it went differently and I’m sure we would have shown the right body language. After the equaliser, we were back on track. I’m proud of that, but it isn’t enough and we know the situation we are in.
…the table situation ahead of the away game against Köln:
Pál Dárdai: Even if we had lost against Stuttgart, we wouldn’t have been relegated yet. Teams are able to win every game at the end of the season, and that’s why we’ll continue to fight as long as it’s possible. We haven’t managed anything yet, but we’re in a better position now. From the three games left, two wins may be enough to avoid automatic relegation and with three we might even be able to guarantee survival. We will give everything to get the most out of them. As long as it’s in our own hands, we don’t need to talk about hope. I don’t like the word “hope”.
…the upcoming opponent:
Pál Dárdai: Every match needs a renewed focus, which is now on Köln. They have a good coach, a good team and a good atmosphere there, but we are also playing well. Our boys are fresh and fully fit, especially mentally. Every player has fought hard so far, but not always together. Only together can we achieve something, it’s difficult to do so alone. The boys understand by now that we just have to maintain this level.
…areas of focus in the next training sessions:
Pál Dárdai: We will spend around one and a half sessions on counterattacks. We need quicker execution, better positioning and a maximum of one or two touches. As in Munich, we turned the ball over well against Stuttgart, but needed to be more consistent in the final third. I think we are still making it too complicated in these situations. Football is a simple game, but it’s difficult to play simply, Johan Cruyff knew that (grins). We have to get the ball moving and also practice this, but counterattacking alone isn’t enough, so we’ll continue to work on other areas, too.