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Hartel: "We've made progress and are more mature"

The Boys in Brown were able to draw breath at the weekend and recharge their batteries ahead of the nine-game end-of-season run-in. After training on Monday, midfielder Marcel Hartel took time out to answer questions from the media.

Marcel Hartel on…

...leading the club rankings in terms of playing time and distance covered: "I'm happy with that, but I'm even happier that we're in good nick and winning games. Anyone who plays football obviously wants to play every game and do so for the full 90 minutes, but I don't go up to Fabian and tell him not to think about subbing me off. I simply want to do as well as I can for the team week in, week out. It won't annoy me if Fabian does take me off. I'll be happy for the player who comes on and has a chance to show what he can do."

...the mood in the camp: "It's euphoric after eight wins in a row. Everyone's in a good mood and turns up for training with a smile on their face every day. It makes life easier when you win. The mood is automatically better and things become easier. You sense it with everyone."

...his role in the system: "When we're defending, I slot in alongside Jackson and when we're attacking, I move up into the No10 position. Fabian wants me to play a bit further forward so I can bring my creativity into play. That's OK, it suits me and it's fun to play further up the field and create more in the danger areas."

...the international break and the Hannover friendly: "For the lads who haven't had much playing time recently, it's good to get back to a competitive level in a friendly. They did really well against a good second-division team and it meant everyone was happy going into the weekend. Having two days off was good for mind and body. We can go flat out again this week. I'm expecting an exciting game against Regensburg which in the best case we'll swing in our favour."

Marcel Hartel came on in the second half of the friendly against Hannover.

Marcel Hartel came on in the second half of the friendly against Hannover.

...the reasons for the winning run: "We simply have our confidence back after winning the first few games. They were all close, apart from the one at Sandhausen, and we could have drawn or lost a few, but we matured during the mid-season preparations. We kept our composure when things were tight and saw the games out. We've made massive progress in that respect. In the past, we had a habit of conceding late equalisers and missing out on the three points. We've always stuck together as a team, even before the current run, and did everything we could to come up with answers with the coaching team. We haven't completed the turnaround because we aren't always the same team, but we have made progress and are more mature now."

...a new target for the season: "You can never draw a line under a season. It isn't over yet; we still have nine games to go. We're having an outstanding second half of the season and are happy at the moment. No one will object if we keep winning games, but we see we have the potential to be even better every week, and that’s what we work towards every day."

...the subject of promotion: "We still have lots of points to make up to the very top, so you can't say we're challenging for promotion. We've won eight games in a row and obviously want to keep going, starting with this weekend's home game against Regensburg. Working with the lads and the coaching team is a lot of fun at the moment. We want to stay in touch and win every game, and then we'll see what happens."

Photos: Witters