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Hürzeler: "My players know what they're up against"

The Boys in Brown enter the five-game run-in to the end of the year with an assignment at Hansa Rostock on Saturday (13.00 CET). Head coach Fabian Hürzeler took time out in the run-up to answer questions from the media at the customary news conference on Thursday morning.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...the personnel situation: "I've seen everyone. Manolis Saliakas was delighted to get a brief run-out with Greece. He came up to me and said he's making small steps and might get to play for ten minutes in the next game (he laughs). Jackson Irvine and Connor Metcalfe have also come back unscathed and both of them got some minutes. Karol Mets gave us brief cause for concern yesterday with a loud scream after a tackle in training but was able to carry on straightaway."

..opponents Hansa Rostock and the atmosphere: "We face a team who play very simple, effective football. They've improved in their last few games and picked up points. Switching to a back four has done them good. And they have players with a lot of quality. It's not as if they're a team who just defend – they come into their own in attack as well. They have clear processes and patterns in their play, so we have to prepare well and not simply reduce them to their defensive ability. It's going to be a big challenge, not just in footballing terms but also because of the atmosphere, which generates enormous power. The fans make a lot of noise and get right behind their team. My players know what they're up against. They played there last year or before that as well. It's important to emphasise that we're capable of adapting to their style of play. We do a lot of and get stuck into the tackles running as well, though it'll be even more important not to adapt too much. Instead, we have to stay true to our own brand of football and ignore the things we have no influence over. We want to show emotions, but only to a certain extent."

...recent defeats at Rostock: "You obviously go into a game intent on doing certain things. We did that then as well, but I think the situation is different now. My team is more stable, both mentally and on the pitch. We have a lot of confidence, the structure of the team on the pitch is stable and everyone knows what they're up against. We have to be convinced of our style of play and what we're capable of. We have to bring our principles to the pitch because that makes us strong. We'll have a chance of getting a good result then."

...the run of 13 league games without defeat: "It obviously gives you a certain degree of confidence, but it can be very deceptive. Along with my staff and my coaching team I keep trying to ensure that my players know why they're successful. It comes from hard work and that's why we keep trying to make clear to them that they have to keep doing more and there are lots of small things they can do better. It then comes down to how well they take that on board so we can continue along our path."

...the threat of a one-match ban ahead of the derby: "I've managed OK since I got my third yellow card. I've also made quite clear that it's something I have to work on. For me it's important that the emotions I have remain positive and support the team, and that's exactly what I'll be focusing on against Rostock."

Photos: Witters