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Twenty-four hours after the sobering 3-0 defeat at Heidenheim, head coach Jos Luhukay fielded questions from the Hamburg media after training. Among other things, the 55-year-old Dutchman spoke about...

...the performance against Heidenheim

"Everyone was very disappointed with the display and very frustrated straight after the game. We’ll go over it in the next few days. We thought the players had built up the necessary confidence in the second half against Bielefeld, but at Heidenheim it was lacking from the word go. We didn’t defend properly and showed no conviction in possession. There was no indication of that going into the game. We had a very good week in training. We showed the necessary will and desire and had plans in place for operating both with and without the ball. We prepared very well, but none of the energy and work we put in bore fruit."

...the remaining four games

 "I want to give our fans something back. They went to a lot of effort again to make the journey to Heidenheim. We need to have tremendous respect for that. We did nothing to give anything back yesterday. The onus is on all of us to win the fans back, but we have to lead by example by showing the necessary passion on the pitch."

...Finn Ole Becker

"In the second half he was the one who showed what we’d hoped for from the whole team. He embodied the things we’d talked about in the run-up to the game. It’s normally the experienced players who do that. He was one of the bright spots for me. He did a lot of running. He slid in to stop a shot on the edge of his own box and was also involved in attempts on goal at the other end. It’s a shame we can’t let him start on Saturday. I was intending to ease him in gently, but he’s suspended now unfortunately. We have to accept the referee’s decision."

...the current situation in the squad

"It isn’t easy, of course. If we just take our defence as an example, Park hadn’t played for months, and Carstens is still developing step by step as a second-division player. Justin arrived in January and he and Flo have only played together a couple of times. Jerry is operating at left-back but prefers to play a position further upfield. The defence has been reorganised. That’s not an excuse, but you need alternatives to make changes. Avevor picked up an injury just before I came and Buballa was out for a week with a cold. That’s one way to explain why you can’t change everything all at once."

... individual performances

"When you lose a game the way we did yesterday, you shouldn’t focus on individual players. Yesterday we failed as a collective to play as we’d prepared in training. That applies to every single player and to us on the coaching team. During my career I’ve learned that you lose games together and you win games together. We have to be there for each other as a team, in good times and bad."

...the plans for next season

"The impressions I’m getting now are obviously going to influence my thinking on how we need to set up for next season. A lot of discussions will be held about the future. The impressions I’m getting aren’t very nice at the moment, but on the other end they help us to get to know each better. It’s like in a marriage, you get to know your partner best during the bad times. We can all work hard on ourselves every day to do better next time. You shouldn’t take decisions based on your emotions or first and second impressions. Everyone has an opportunity to show their best in the time to the end of the season. I’ve told the general manager and the board that I want to keep gathering these impressions to the end of the season. We’ll then give it some thought and make some decisions, but first we’ll work towards this Saturday."

...the current lack of confidence

"That comes from the results. It’s nothing to do with your position in the table when you don’t win, it’s more about your mental state. One or two of the lads lack conviction and assurance. That wasn’t apparent in training, but then you don’t have the same pressure situation in training. It came as a surprise to us that we couldn’t translate the good impressions in training into action on the pitch. We talk to the defenders, the midfielders, the strikers. We do enough work in advance. We put a lot of energy into the conversations with individual players and the group. We show videos of ourselves and the opposition. We put a lot of effort in to be successful. Hard work is the only way to come out of the next game with all three points."


Photo: Witters

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