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Paqarada targets improvement in defence

Before the Boys in Brown took to the training ground to continue their preparations for the trip to FC Ingolstadt 04 on Wednesday afternoon, Leart Paqarada sat down with the Hamburg media to answer their questions.

...his first start as captain against Hannover: "I couldn't really enjoy it because we lost, though it was very, very special in the build-up and when we ran out. To lead the team out at a club like St. Pauli and in front of fans is something I won't forget in a hurry, but I'd have preferred to take the three points, of course."

...the current mood: "Nothing has changed inside the squad. We had some difficult phases last season when the mood in the camp was positive more than anything else and that hasn't changed in the current phase. We're stable and mature enough as a group that everyone knows what has to improve without being too negative about it. The team spirit is still very good and even in a phase like this one it's still OK to have a laugh in the dressing room. Everyone still enjoys coming to training, which is also down to Timo Schultz. The players are obviously thinking about things and what we need to do better. The task now is for each and every one of us to get back to the level of performance and the expectations we have of ourselves. If we do that, I'm confident we can turn things round again quickly. We talked about lots of things even when it was going well and we aren't doing anything any differently now."

...his role as a leader in the current situation: "The experienced players have to lead from the front and they're willing to do that. We have a mix of young and old in the squad. You obviously have players whose minds are occupied with things a bit more than others and that's where the experienced players come in, of whom I am one. The most important thing is to go flat out in training every day, lead from the front on the pitch and be an example for the other players. You also have to reach out to people. I'm a very communicative person myself and feel the need to talk to various players and keep everyone together. That's how I try to help the team and it's something I enjoy doing."

...the number of goals conceded recently: "We have to defend better as a team and turn things up a notch in the duels. We all know we have to go up a notch, and that includes me. Duels are crucial in the second division. In general, we stand for attacking football but for all that we mustn't forget that the defence is the cornerstone of what we do. If we can find the right balance between taking risks and providing good cover, then things will start improving again."

...the Ingolstadt game and pressure to win: "In the second division you can't say you have to beat a team or not based on where they are in the table. This league is crazy, simple as that. We're obviously going to Ingolstadt with the aim of taking three points. We'll work hard all week in training with that in mind."

Photos: Witters