After week long preps in Zlatibor and 10-day camp in Slovenia, Head Coach Djukic talks to press and gives his early impressions:
– Great preps, I can only praise my players – they behaved and trained exceptionally. We have stable and modern team, aggressive side that defends well, I`m really pleased.
Is Partizan ready for competitive games?
– Goals will come. It`s important that we create opportunities. We are firm side working together and everyone is well-positioned at all times. I insisted on tactical discipline from the start and team realized there`s no success in Europe without it. We make progress with each new day and we are ready for CL qualifiers and domestic championship.
Can this Partizan side progress even more?
– There`s lot of space for progress. Legs are still numb though..It`s important that we have aggression and to do some things automatically. When players memorize set-up, their quality will come out even more. Now, they are still wasting to much energy.
What are your expectations from Djurdjevic and Leonardo?
– They just started training with us and they are yet to adapt. Leo needs more time but his eagerness matters a lot. They are both extremely important to us, they are making the difference.
Centre-back Lazar Cirkovic looks like a possible starter already?
– He gave us stability along with Bojan Ostojic with whom he works together quite well. There`s good communication with flank backs too. I`m pleased with whole defensive block, they help each other so much. That defensive stability allow us to advance in attacking part.
Danilo Pantic is breaking through as well…
– I can`t teach Pantic or Mihajlovic anything, they are finished product but I`m really pleased when they do their defensive duties, when they sacrifice for the team. They are aware they cannot advance without it. They have enormous talent but their defending is what really matters to us.
Is performance against Kobenhavn something you want from this team?
– It is, as well as second half against CSKA and Ural. From the beginning, we had an idea to play aggressive, paceful and floating game. This is wonderful group of boys, they are all professional and we had a great harmony here. Sometimes I wonder how come everything is going so smooth. We have all the ingredients to achieve a big result this season.
Is the starting line-up against Ural the one we can expect to see in CL opener?
– Team is there, we don`t need any big changes. There are player who battle for starting line-up and we have a great team atmosphere – everyone is pushing each other forward. We are becoming better, firmer side with neat teamwork involved.
Do you think Leonardo will overcome all the pressure around him?
– Of course, everything that happens around his contract and deal with the club influences him. Coaching staff is greeting Leonardo so much, we want him and it`s all on him now. We want true Leonardo, the one that makes the difference, the one who is there with the team. That`s Leonardo we need!
Miroslav Djukic insists on quick passing game, possession and high pressing.
– We attack with lots of players and if we lose possession and there`s no quick reaction, we can have a damaging counter-attack. We have to “strangle” the opposition and my team knows that`s the right path. You can keep telling them that but it means nothing if we don`t have results. Now, they see it looks good, they see they look like top European teams and it makes things easier. We are confident ahead of season start.
What about possible newcomer Suma?
– Anyone who can make a difference is more than welcome. It`s important we sign great players.
You are so involved in the games from the dugout.
– I have to until player reach needed automatism. I need to be close to build things into them. I`m much calmer when I talk, when I live the game with my team. As I`m getting older, I`m losing power and strength but I`m getting wiser along the way.
What kind of reception you expect at Partizan ground?
– Fans will always back us up and it`s important we have them behind. Most importantly, players need support, they mean everything to me, I`m at the back. Players are out there on the pitch, I`m here to help them, lead them, show them the way and take all the responsibility.