43-year-old Igor Duljaj took over Partizan coaching post from Gordan Petric yesterday and we spoke to the new boss today.
“Let`s be honest – there`s not much you can do now. It would be irresponsible to make promises. I still didn`t meet with the team but I had an opportunity to see how they handle things upon my return from Ukraine, what football profiles we have there…I know most of them anyway. Sometimes this kind of a shock therapy works, sudden coaching change, sometimes it doesn`t. I`m not looking for excuses but a brief look at the standings shows Crvena Zvezda is convincing leader and we have no rights to send threats ahead of the derby game. We have to move forward day by day, game by game. The only think I can promise is I`ll do my best to make this team look better. One should always be positive but there`s no running away from liability, it`s what it is. I didn`t expect this to happen in this way. There was an option of me taking over in a near past but the common sense told me not to do it. This time around, it was heart that said yes”, said Igor Duljaj.
It took just few hours for Partizan and Duljaj to strike a deal, Duljaj explains:
“I went to my hometown of Topola that day, visited my family, watched Partizan play and as disappointed as I was with the result, I went for a quiet cup of coffee with my best man only to be phoned by the Sporting Director who asked me to come over and I just sat in my car and went to the club offices at the stadium”.
Former Partizan player compared this appointment to his first arrival to the club.
“The feeling is the same as back in 1990. Partizan played in Topola and I played for the home side on the day as they were short of one player. People from Partizan starting enquiring about me and they were told I`m bakers son. They asked to see the baker and they basically told my father I have a 9am training session at Partizan ground on Tuesday. Now, I have almost the same feeling as back them, over to big city and big club…Heart starts pumping faster”.
Duljaj completed his pro coaching license while in Ukraine and he spoke about his coaching philosophy he will try to implement.
“In a year all of us Partizan youngsters moved to seniors, we were third in the standings, I remember. Club policy was we have nothing to lose and it`s time to present young players with an opportunity. I would be ideal if we get a result and an odd youngster to break through. I consulted more experienced colleagues about the timing of introducing young guns and they told me I would never be at fault of doing it. But, caution is required. I want to give them opportunity but they have to mature with the more experienced players. As for the discipline and rules, it will be the same as at home – I don`t expect to be an army but there should be respect there, as you have it for your parents. It`s paramount for them to know discipline is foundation of everything you do in your life”.
Runners-up position at the standings will allow Partizan to play CL play-off qualifiers.
“ Honestly, I`m not thinking about it now, it`s so far away at this moment but it`s just around the corner actually. I`m having my first training session with the team next, it`s a about day by day, game by game basis”.
PHOTO GALLERY: MIROSLAV TODOROVIC