Bild: citypress

“We’ve added the necessary variability to our game”

Following the end of training camp, head coach Ante Čović speaks about the progress made in Stegersbach, a potential starting line-up and the upcoming start to the season.

Stegersbach/Berlin – As their second pre-season training camp comes to an end after nearly nine days, the Herthaner will have completed 12 training sessions, two friendlies and one team excursion. The Blue-Whites will fly home to Berlin from Vienna early on Thursday morning (01.08.19). Ante Čović and his team are bringing plenty of important insights back with them, showing no signs of bad mood, cabin fever, or the effects of erratic weather conditions. “In Stegersbach we were able to implement everything that we intended to do,” said the head coach, who looks back on their time In Austria positively. The 43-year-old spoke to the media about the return trip from the second training camp, a potential starting line-up and the start of the season. has summed up all the most important points.

Ante Čović on…

…his conclusions from training camp in Stegersbach:
We were able to implement everything that we intended to do. Muscular issues can be a common occurrence in pre-season, which is where we currently find ourselves. But, we have been mostly able to avoid this issue. We were able to pick up valuable insights from our two friendlies against Fenerbahçe and West Ham. We will end our pre-season with a friendly against Crystal Palace on Saturday (03.08.19 at 16:00 CEST). After that we’ll focus fully on our DFB-Pokal match against VfB Eichstätt.

…his players’ progress: We’ve added the necessary variability to our game. We have already been able to generate many chances on goal, which is something we saw in our friendlies. What’s still missing sometimes is that final pass, which lacks accuracy at times. That also comes down to being mentally and physically prepared. We’re still working on that so that we will be fully ready to face Eichstätt.

…the current level of performance: There’s no question that we haven’t reached our limit yet. Over the next few weeks we will return to our regular training sessions where we will train hard but also mix in enough recovery phases. We want our efforts in pre-season to benefit us during the Hinrunde – obviously as early as possible.

…meetings and video sessions: We analysed every training session and friendly in Stegersbach. The players are able to learn a lot by watching it back. A player can’t have the same perception of a situation like we have from the outside. When we show it to them again on video then the player is able to work through the situation again and read it correctly, which really helps them. As coaches, we are able to reinforce the things that we want to explain to the players.

…implementing the different formations: Having different formations means that there are different requirements. There’s a big difference between a 4-4-3, 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 – the boys have to know their positions and be prepared for it. However, we’ve been able to explain the formations to them quite well so far. It’s also important that the boys are more than willing to implement these things quickly.

…the potential starting line-up:
There will be six or seven players who will start against Crystal Palace who will then also start against Eichstätt. We still have so many training sessions to go ahead of our first matches, which is why we aren’t committing to anything just yet. We’re always picking up new insights and there’s plenty that could still happen before the season gets underway. What I can say is that I have a basic outline in my head. But there will always be players who end up surprising you.   

…the team committee: We chose our new team committee during a meeting on Wednesday night. We made it clear a while ago that Vedad Ibišević would be the captain, and the new vice-captain will be Niklas Stark. Per Skjelbred, Salomon Kalou and Arne Meier will make up the rest of the five-person team committee.

...Dedryck Boyata’s status: It remains a day-to-day thing. Dedryck was out injured for a while and those final steps to being 100 per cent fit again are always the hardest, whereas those first few days often go by relatively quickly. We need to remain patient and hope that we get him back onto the pitch soon.

...the time spent preparing for training:
I put a lot of time into preparing for the sessions. At the same time, we also have a meeting every night with the boys. We don’t want to constantly be on their case, but these discussions are important.

...his first weeks as head coach: Not a lot of time but a lot of effort: that’s exactly what I was expecting (laughs). The more important thing for us to recognise is that we are dealing with people. We need to realise that people sometimes go through difficult phases. It’s important that you give the boys constant support so that they are able to pick themselves up again. The level of effort compared to coaching the U23s is definitely bigger, since you‘re collecting and analysing a lot more data while also having access to more video material. After all, we film every training session. Even the team behind the team is noticeably bigger, but I’m happy to have them since they all help us improve and move forward.

Teams, 02.08.2019