On Wednesday morning, the team trained for the final time in Neuruppin, before eating together as the training camp drew to a close. After two training sessions every day, a number of Video analysis meetings and a successful friendly against third-tier Eintracht Braunschweig, an eventful week is over for Hertha BSC and Ante Čović. The head coach took the time to chat to journalists about his impressions of the camp in Kreisstadt.
Ante Čović on …… his first impression of the training camp: It was a successful camp. Starting with the conditions that were on offer to us here. The food was excellent, the pitch was really good and the hotel was top quality. It was an excellent framework. For me as a coach it was a good training camp, especially when I see that we haven’t picked up any injuries to any players. The workload and individual sessions were very successful, and we also had the friendly which we won 4-1. That strengthens what you do on a daily basis.
… the training drills: We do a lot of work with the ball. In terms of workload, there is a parameter of how far we can push the players every day. In that respect, we have worked very hard.
… the impressions of his new team: I have inherited a group in which everyone is willing and eager. The boys always want to learn. Every player wants to show themselves off to the coach. The antennas are out. So far, the work has been superb.
… pleasant surprises: It would be unfair on the other players if I singled anyone out. It is fascinating to see the players’ drive – even with the increased workload. The mood was never once low. The guys were enjoying the things that we were working on here. It is wonderful.
… the minor details that he discussed in training: They are things like positional play, an open stance, dead-ball situations and build up play. We want to give the guys chance so they don’t have to play a long ball. We want to mainly play on the floor from the back.
… the timing surrounding new signing Dedryck Boyata: When a player has spent four months out with injury, you have to monitor him closely. We want to introduce him slowly into the team, even if his heart wants more, as a coaching team we have to be reasonable. Dedryck is full part of our plans. The week here has helped him a lot to get to know the team. Therefore it was very important for him to take part and be here with us. Right now, it is difficult to say when he will be able to return fully. We have to look how he reacts to the workloads.
…the schedule for the coming days: We will fine tune a few things. I’ve always said from the start that we don’t have any days to waste to work on things. We will introduce new elements but also go deeper in other areas. But that will come as the team get more and more complete. We have a basic outline of the plan, but we will also base it on hoe the boys handle certain things. If we realise that they need more time on a certain area, we will work on it a few days longer.
… his irritated vocal chords: I am an emotional guy and my vocal chords are used to being needed! It was like that when I was younger too. When you go out onto the pitch as a football coach, you are somewhat responsible for the players.
… the areas in which there is potential to improve: It would be careless to say that we are good after ten days of training together again, that we’re going to go to Mallorca and not do anything else. This is just the beginning. We were able to do everything that we wanted here and the players took everything really well. We also shouldn’t forget that with all the new work that we have introduced, there will be phases where it doesn’t always work. A lot of it depends on the body and the mind. When you want everything to fit together immediately, you have to give the guys a couple of days off. Then they will be fresh again in the mind and legs. But that’s not what we want. We are in per season and are working at a high intensity.
…his loudness on the training pitch: If I get the feeling that there is a bit of casualness within the group, I have to make myself heard. There is nothing worse than wasted time on the training ground. It makes sense to cancel the drill and have a rest and come back fresher, but to have a training session without an engaged mind is a waste.