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After the final match of the season at Greuther Fürth, head coach Jos Luhukay took time out late on Sunday evening to field questions from the Hamburg media representatives in attendance. During the exchange, he looked back on the 90 minutes and his points haul since taking charge. Here's a summary of his key statements.

The 90 minutes: "The way the game went was very hard for us to take. I think it would have been a different outcome if it had been 11 v 11. We started very well again and created some good chances, but if you don't take them, then things are going to be tough, of course. We were solid at the back up until half-time and very assured in midfield, which allowed us to create several dangerous moments up front. In the second half Fürth took the lead out of the blue from a free-kick, but the players rolled their sleeves up and got a deserved equaliser straightaway. The next setback was Brian's sending-off, which took us some time to come to terms with. When you're down to ten, the opposition are going to have chances, of course, but I think the lads did everything they could to secure at least a draw, so it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when you're left with nothing. And Fürth's second goal came just before the end. Overall, we were very unfortunate. The players didn't deserve that."

The long injury list: "When 13 or 14 players are sidelined week in, week out, then I have nothing but praise for the lads in the squad. They improved with every game. In the last six weeks I haven't complained once that we didn't have enough players at our disposal or that the quality wasn't good enough. I see that the lads are making good progress, and we can build on that in the preparations for next season. When 10 or 11 of the 14 players who've been out injured hopefully come back, things will look very different."

Young talent Luis Coordes: "Luis is a lad who needs to gain experience and the only way to do that is to play in the first team. His substitution against Fürth was simply a tactical measure to try and make something happen with Alex Meier in the closing stages – both at the back and in the few attacking moments we had. It was only Luis's second senior appearance. We have to give him some time now to gradually stake his claim in the second division."

The points haul: "If you only look at the results, you might not detect an upward trend, but internally it*s important for us to see that an improvement is there and that that message gets through to the players as well because the results haven't always reflected the work we have put in. The only thing we can be accused of perhaps is that we didn't go on to convert the style of football into points. It would certainly have made things easier if we'd got the odd goal or two early on and thus taken the lead in order to get more control of the games overall. That's another thing we have to work hard to bring about next season."


Photo: Witters