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A cohesive team performance earned the Boys in Brown a 2-1 victory over second-placed Greuther Fürth on Sunday, aided by a strong individual display from Rico Benatelli and his customary tough tackling and assured passing. The midfielder began the week by sitting down for a chat with the Hamburg media.

Rico Benatelli on...

…his impressive form: "We're on a good run at the moment and playing successful football. As for me, I'm playing well, too, though I was before as well. We're very consistent at the moment and when you're winning games, your ratings are always better."

…room for improvement in his own game: "There are always aspects in need of improvement and things you can work on, even at 29. Whether it's your heading game, long balls in behind the defence or winning more tackles. You use the time in training during the week for that. You can always improve, and you have to if you want to keep pace or become a better player."

…the battle for places in the team: "Every player wants to earn the confidence of the coach. We have a huge squad with three players in every position to all intents and purposes. You can't afford a poor performance. I try to play well week in, week out. I've been out of the team at times this season and other players have come in. You can't stick your head in the sand when that happens, you have to keep working on your game. You have to wait for your chance and then take it. It worked well for me."

…the win over Greuther Fürth: "Fürth are the best footballing side in the league along with Bochum. What's unique about them is the way they put their opponents under constant pressure and attack them from the front, which makes things difficult for any team. That we're now able to hold our own in games like that and still create lots of chances speaks for us and the fact we have a solid system. We came out on top, which is really positive."

Rico Benatelli celebrates with Lukas Daschner (left) and Luca Zander after the defeat of Fürth.

Rico Benatelli celebrates with Lukas Daschner (left) and Luca Zander after the defeat of Fürth.

…missing out on a better league placing due to the slow start to the season: "We're extremely glad to have escaped the nether regions of the table so quickly, but now things are going so well it's obviously annoying that we dropped a few points earlier in the season. There's no point in dwelling on it, though. We just have to make sure we keep working well, see the campaign out and then get off to a good start with a view to next season."

…the free weekend and the games in hand of forthcoming opponents Holstein Kiel: "They have a lot of games in front of them, but they also have a big squad with lots of quality, so they'll be able to deal with it. We're always well prepared for our next opponents, but we would all do well to put the TV on and watch a game for 90 minutes. We'll prepare well for the game and it will come down to who's better on the day."

…the goals for the rest of the season: "We want to end the season well and get the maximum out of it. Three wins would be great, of course, but it'll be hard. The league is very even, but we go into every game with the aim of winning it. We have three tough asks ahead of us, but we're focusing on Kiel for the time being."


Photos: Witters