Berlin – As a player, Pál Dárdai was known to be a committed, resolute and honest professional. He has taken these same attributes into management. The Hungarian is a man who prides himself on his honesty. If something isn’t to his liking, he says something – both to the media and behind closed doors. We noted what the 41-year-old had to say at the end of the season.
herthabsc.de: Pál, the 2017/18 season is over. Hertha’s season has been one of highs and lows. After a few days looking back, how would you rate the season just gone?
Dárdai: It was a reasonable season. We don’t have to talk it down but we shouldn’t over-exaggerate our achievements. We knew before the season that it wouldn’t be easy as lots of things were new and we wanted to integrate some of the younger players.
herthabsc.de: With a few matchdays to go, reaching the European spots was still possible. How disappointed are you to miss out and what did you make of your performances in the last three matchdays?
Dárdai: It’s something that’s happened throughout the season. When we had pressure from teams below us, we performed well to get ourselves out of any trouble. When we have the chance to get closer to the teams at the top, we struggled to get results. We’re working on that.
herthabsc.de: After 34 matchdays, we have the sixth best away record in the division but we’ve struggled at home. Last year it was different. Why do you think that’s the case?
Dárdai: Not everything is explainable in football. For us that means we have to work out how to get the balance right between continuing to pick up points on the road and making the Olympiastadion a fortress once again.
herthabsc.de: Undefeated against Bayern Munich but winless against Mainz 05 and VfL Wolfsburg: Are there games in particular you look back on fondly or with disappointment?
Dárdai: We were disappointed with those games mentioned. You can never say that the lads weren’t giving their all though and that’s what matters most.
herthabsc.de: In the past few days, you’ve continually stressed that you’ve tried to build a solid foundation in a challenging season where you have games in numerous competitions. What exactly do you mean by that?
Dárdai: We were well prepared to play on three fronts. In the first half of the season, we were able to give opportunities to several of the younger players due to our midweek fixtures to help integrate them. That was a great success as we mixed our younger players with our new signings.
herthabsc.de: Arne Maier is definitely one of the big discoveries of the season. Which players have played themselves into contention for next season in the past few months?