Partizan boss Miroslav Djukic spoke to Partizan website about winter preps and more:
– We had calm preps and worked well. Mood around was good, all players were able to present themselves and I`m quite please with the team. We had wins, defeats and draws in friendlies we played but I`m satisfied with work done. We are coming home ready for the season`s restart.
What`s really good is the spirit of the team. We are doing well as we have a firm and homogeneous team and we progress forward with each new day. Every individual makes its contribution and we had no single quarrel over the 16-day Cyprus preps, players did their job in true professional manner and made daily progress. This team has great capability. Youngsters also seized their opportunity and pushed older players to be better. They were there with their youth and aggression and wanted to prove themselves. We have to praise young guns who worked well during winter preps.
Overall, I`m pleased with newcomers. As expected, some of them struggle a bit and some of them blend in with more ease. They are all aware they have to work for the team first, individual quality comes second. Urosevic played really well, brought us firmness at the back. He is really good attacking-wise too, his cross is good. Ivanovic is struggling as he is not used to this kind and intensity of work but he is a great potential and gets into the system gradually. Vakulko is young ans so talented, technically gifted with a good football vision. He is progressing daily as well. We didn`t see much from Zdjelar – he only played full game against Teplice where he showed he`s gonna be great addition to our squad. Zdjelar is competitive, stable and tactically well trained. With time, he will be leading light on the pitch, someone who will dictate the pace of the game, very important player for us.
I think team is ready for Plzen game and I believe we had adequate friendlies opposition. They pushed us to have intensity and we expect the same from Plzen. We are looking good ahead of our European tie.
As for the team lines…Defence is our stability, very important part of the team. Players are aware that they all have to work on defence in my system, no exceptions. They all understand that and work for the team. I`m pleased with our defensive work but there are still things we need to fix. You can`t do certain things three times only, you`ll forget about it later on. You need to be consistent as once you fail to do what you should you concede a goal. Big mistakes always get punished. If we want to be competitive Europe-wise, you need to have firm and organized defence. Same goes for domestic competitions. As for the attacking part, there`s a lot of space for more progress, especially talking about paceful passing game and finishing. Last friendly we played didn`t have the intensity as Teplice match. This opposition allowed us to dominate and opted for counter-attacking game but didn`t benefit from it. On the other hand, we didn`t do enough finishing-wise, we have to be more clinical but it`s an ongoing process we talk about. We also lacked fresh feet but we`ll get there.
Players gradually realize that more of two touches allow opposition to regroup and set defence. Therefore, I insist on one touch, on switches and flank breaks, on passing game. If you don`t speed the things up, teams we are going to play soon will be hard to break when they have their defence in place. If you didn`t concede, that gives you stability and you go forward to try and win. Lot of it depends on concept of the team you pay against. Ourselves, we are close to be firm and homogeneous side and from there on we move forward to win. We are not the kind of the team to focus on winning with one-goal margin. We have different style players now and we need to adjust to player`s profiles. Defensive firmness is so important.
I`m pleased both with this team and the one we had in a first part of the season. At the moment, we have stable team and we know what to expect. Back then, we didn`t know if Djurdjevic and Leonardo were going to leave. Now, everything is clear.
We had few injuries – Ostojic, Pantic, Jovicic followed by Ozegovic and Zdjelar who we need to access yet, they are important to us. But, I`m pleased in that department too. Sasa Ilic is also sidelined but it`s important that players who jump in for them do the job. We have a system now and one player goes out another comes in although some players add that individual quality as well.
We planned to give players two days off so that they can rest and be fresh for final week ahead of season restart. It`s about us, not Plzen. We`ll analyse them and we know how they play but we are not going to adjust to them. It`s about us. We need to shut their good sides and to think about us. We want to Partizan with same playing style against Mladost, Javor, Crvena Zvezda or Plzen. It`s about our style of game and trying to impose it on the opposition.
I didn`t send anyone to scout Plzen nor I`m afraid to have someone spy on my side. Football is on open game. Everybody knows Messi will attack from the left ninety percent of the time but they can`t stop him. Therefore, you can be informed about your opposition as much as you like or to hide things from them, but it`s all clear for everyone to see. I`ll make a short introduction on Plzen to my team, introduce them with their game but I`m not going to burden my players with them. I want my team to be ready, I want us to lead the game.
We can expect a lot from our youngsters. Some of them are seeking their time on the pitch and they deserve it. It will be no problem to me to play them with pressure on.
Title battle…Well, everything in football game is hard. We have belief and we are still in all three competitions wanting to go as far as possible. We had troubles during the season with tight defences. For example, we couldn`t break Napredak – sometimes we manage to split opposition defence, sometimes they don`t allow us to dominate. We had lot of troubles at home with tight defences and we`ll try to fix that with paceful passing game and flank breaks.
I returned to Serbia to work, this is my country and we have enormous potential and capacity, we just to be more organized to move forward. Partizan is one big club and I believe our good work can lead to great things, we can make good system and make club work fine long-term. I`m not the kind of gaffer who shouts from the dugout, I don`t want to create false panic when there`s no need to. I can shout when something is not done right but unnecessary shouting is the sign of weakness. These guys are healthy, educated boys and they do things we agreed beforehand. No need for me to shout and scream as we have one healthy relation and atmosphere within the team. We all respect each other and we work hard, therefore there`s no need to shout. Sometimes you have to raise your voice and point at mistakes but I`m not the kind of person to shout with no reason whatsoever. I feel the trust of the players, good chemistry around. One of the reasons we work well together is the trust players have in coaching team, they believe in what we say to them and try to take it in. We have top atmosphere and respect here. I`m overwhelmed about it. We have chemistry and healthy relationship. Well, I never wanted to be a friend to my kids, I wanted to be a parent. There`s line they can`t cross. That`s how it is with players too. I`m not their friend to hang out in cafes with them, I`m their coach and I want healthy relationship with them but the one with respect.
I`m pleased with Soumah, his game approach and work. Now, there`s a big difference compared to last season when he arrived here unfit. Soumah now wants it, works hard, wants to change his situation and I`m pleased with it. I expect his hard work to turn into good performances, goals and assists.
We are trailing to league leader but there`s enough games to play, we both play Europa League as well. There`ll be fatigue and anything can happen. We will be ready to seize on any mistakes Crvena Zvezda makes. They have strong opposition in Europa League, it`s gonna be hard for both teams, it`s fifty-fifty to go through in both these ties. We restart with our work on Monday morning, on Tuesday we will train at our ground, on Wednesday will train back at Zemunelo camp, all the ordinary stuff. It`s very important to have players rested for two days after tough preps. They will recover by Monday and we will enter new week ahead of European tie with new enthusiasm.