“It’s disappointing and not sweet“

After an indoor session to start the week off, Pál Dárdai virtually spoke to the media about the Bayern game, Jordan Torunarigha’s injury and training ahead of the trip to Stuttgart.

Berlin – A snowy Schenckendorffplatz and -8 degrees meant that Hertha’s training week didn’t begin in optimal conditions. Instead, Pál Dárdai and his coaching team decided to begin preparations for the game at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday (13/02/21, 15:30 CET) by training indoors. “We made the decision not to train outdoors, instead warming up the bodies inside,” explained Hertha’s head coach in a virtual conversation with the media.

Pál Dárdai on...

…his impression of the players after the Bayern defeat: I made it clear from the beginning that I don’t want angry or annoyed players in the dressing room after defeats. It’s important that the lads can put setbacks to one side and focus on the future – especially in our current situation. We just need points, it doesn’t matter how we get them. We’ve got some tough challenges coming up and, because we’ve not got enough points so far, we desperately need some results. Just playing well isn’t enough – it’s disappointing and not sweet. Just like in every other job, working well isn’t enough; you need something to show for it. Like I already said though, I can’t moan. The lads looked good on Monday too.

Jordan Torunarigha’s injury: The doctor told me after the game that it’ll take five or six days to find out how long he’ll be out for due to the bruise. He was in a good mood in the dressing room today and he said it’s not as bad as he first thought. I’m no doctor, though, so I can’t say how long Jordan will definitely be out for, because we don’t yet know how badly the tendon was affected.

Omar Alderete: Omar is good on the ball and has a good technique. Now and again he needs to be smarter with his passing though. He’s strong in the air and has enough experience at 24. I won’t have any problems picking him in the side. However, things are a bit tight otherwise. Our only other available centre-back is Márton Dárdai. We need to be careful and hope that Dedryck Boyata and Jordan are fit again soon.

Santiago Ascacíbar on the ball against Bayern.

Sami Khedira’s game time: The original plan was to give Sami Khedira a half, but Lucas and Santi worked well together in Frankfurt. We then decided to start them again against Bayern. We told Sami that and said we’d see when we would bring him on in the second half. Things were actually working well in the midfield, but we still wanted to bring Sami on to give him some minutes and he did well. His passes gave us some composure and a presence in the middle. With a bit of luck, he’d have scored from the set piece with his aerial strength. The idea was to give him a half or bring him on towards the end depending on the scoreline. Overall I’ve been really impressed with him in training. He’s improved every day. I think he’s important for the dressing room too. Niklas Stark told him that when he sees something from afar that he should shout about it. That’s the kind of thing you want to hear as coach.

Santiago Ascacíbar’s role: Santi is a strong runner and a disciplined player. We need players who can win the ball back in midfield for the way we’re playing right now. Sami Khedira, Lucas Tousart and Santi can all play this role. Sami and Lucas are perhaps better passers of the ball, but Santi works a little bit harder – similar to Per Skjelbred. Santi is a younger Skjelbred. He’s a good lad and the most important thing for him is that he’s fit and healthy. Nonetheless, nobody is a guaranteed starter here, which we saw against Bayern, when we brought in another ball-winner in Vladimír Darida for Mattéo Guendouzi. Mattéo did well after coming on too.

…Lucas Tousart’s development: I’ve learnt to speak French and perfected small talk with him (laughs). Jokes aside, I know what the players need. I was a player myself, of course. Confidence is key – everyone can mistakes. Lucas is another disciplined lad. He can work all day long, win the ball back and find his teammates consistently. That’s why Hertha BSC signed him. We don’t need to tell him what he’s capable of – he just needs to show what he can do and he’s doing that really well. He covers a lot ground, wins tackles and brings stability and discipline to the side. Lucas is an intelligent defensive midfielder and he needs to show his strengths off.


""We have a plan B, so that we won’t be making excuses on Saturday having not been able to train properly.""

Pál Dárdai

…no fans at training and in stadiums: We’ve not got the chance to see our fans at the moment, so it’s just not the same. The cohesion between the fans and the club is a big part of football. We need our fans, whether they’re in the stadiums or on the training ground. The players all said how great it was when a few fans were allowed back in the ground last year. Playing in front of your own supporters is something special and we’re missing that.

…the focus ahead of the Stuttgart game: We made the decision to train indoors on Monday so that we could warm the bodies up at the start of the week. Every player is doing exercises to suit them, including stability exercises. We will include some sprinting drills in training over the coming days, then some pressing drills, before working on attacking movement. I am talking to our fitness coaches a lot right now so that we get the right balance. We’re introducing different training methods, so we need to be careful, otherwise our lads could suffer some muscle strains.

…the effect of the weather: We are in contact with the stadium management and our groundsmen. We’re prepared for the weather and it could be a really long week. We have a plan B, so that we won’t be making excuses on Saturday having not been able to train properly. We chose to train indoors on Monday, however we could do a session in the snow on Tuesday – it won’t hurt. Hopefully the pitches will be clear by Wednesday and in good condition.

Teams, 08.02.2021