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Smith: "We have to focus on what lies ahead now"

After the opening training session this week, defensive utility player Eric Smith took time out to answer questions from the media...

Eric Smith on…

...the recent break and his honeymoon: "It was a great trip and it really did me good. My wife and I had a lovely time. It was good not to think about football for a while. I recharged my batteries and am ready to go again now."

...the dismissal of Timo Schultz: "It was tough, not just because I got on well with him. He's a super bloke and a big personality for the club. We were informed about the decision by phone, as we weren’t back at the time. Andreas Bornemann told us when we came in and explained the reasons for the decision. In the end, that's football. We all know their job doesn't last forever, especially the coaches. We're professional footballers and all of us have experienced it. It's not a nice thing for him. We have to focus on what lies ahead now. We all know last year wasn't good enough and most of the blame for that lies with the players, but we have to look forward now and I'm going to focus on how I can help the team."

...his experience of coaches being dismissed at his previous clubs: "At Gent, the coach who brought me in was sacked a week after I'd signed my contract. I experienced it at my first club in Sweden as well. A change of coach always means change. The decision here was made just a week ago. Fabian Hürzeler is doing a good job as coach, we can see what he's focusing on. There’s no reason why he shouldn't get the chance. Everyone knows Fabian, he has a lot of football expertise. We should trust him one hundred per cent in what he’s doing and planning to do."

Eric Smith talks to the assembled media

Eric Smith talks to the assembled media

...reasons for the substandard first half of the campaign: "If you look at the season so far, individual errors are the main reason. A lot of the goals we conceded were because the players got things wrong. I have to include myself in that, of course. You can't say it was down to the tactics. We have to look forward as a team and look in the mirror at the same time."

...to-dos for an improvement in the second half: "We have to concentrate on the basics and be ready mentally. We need to follow a clear plan. We have the quality in the squad but some players may need to grow up a bit faster. We have a lot of young players, but now we have to take every step a bit faster than usual. We have to focus on the individual errors in the second half of the season. If our heads are in the right place and we do what we have to do, we can win every game no matter who we play. That puts me in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the campaign."

...possible interest from first division clubs and his plans for the future: I have a contract with FC St. Pauli. My plan is to play here for as long as my contract runs. I'll give everything for the team and FC St. Pauli. If the club want to keep me and extend my contract, then we’ll talk about it. I'm enjoying it here. I love the club, the city, the team and everything the team stands for. My wife feels very much at home here, too."

Photos: FC St. Pauli

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