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HARTEL: “WE WANTED TO GIVE THE FANS SOMETHING BACK”

We spoke to some happy Boys in Brown after the home win over Hansa Rostock. Here’s the pick of the post-match reaction.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler: “We dominated the first half. We got in behind their backline on occasions and were rewarded with the opening goal. Almost immediately we had a chance to double our lead and could have calmed things down if we’d scored, but we didn’t. That said, we gave almost nothing away apart from the shot from Pröger until the final minute of the half when you have to say we were lucky. It was evenly balanced in the second half. We had our moments but weren’t resolute enough in the final third. Vasilj then pulled off an outstanding save to keep out the shot from Verhoek. All in all, I’m happy with the result. We could have played better in the second half but didn’t. Rostock were tough opponents, as we expected. They were very solid and have played well in their last few games. I wish them all the best.”

Marcel Hartel: “After the reverse fixture and the way we lost there, we have to be happy to have given the fans the three points. It was a good performance from us in the first half, but not good in the second. We fought hard, though, we really wanted the win and managed to see it out. Compliments to the team for the way we battled. Rostock changed things round in the second half and we struggled to come up with an answer. Nevertheless, they only had one decent chance, when Niko pulled off a sensational save. When we’re pushed back and come under pressure, we have the confidence to come through, which wasn’t always the case. We wanted to give the fans something back after the reverse fixture and even though it wasn’t a top performance, I think the fans can go home smiling today.”

Leart Paqarada: “Even on good days we know what goes badly and we still ended up winning by the only goal today. We know how important this game is, the players understood the significance for the fans and everyone around here. We had to make amends after messing up the reverse fixture. We did that and it was a lot of fun. We knew Rostock would probably press us high up the pitch and it’s difficult to defend against because we operate flexibly at the back. We can’t afford to be too passive when we’re pushed back because we’ll concede if we do. You can’t press for 90 minutes, of course, so you’re going to get these phases, but we can’t allow ourselves to be pushed too far back. We’re good in those situations, though. Everyone knows everyone else’s patterns and so it’s fun at the back. We’re on the right track now when it comes to bringing this intensity and mentality to the pitch, the balance is right. We knew we had a good team and we’re happy to enjoy the good times.”

Dapo Afolayan: “I’ve only been here a month but the understanding on the pitch is getting better and better. We have a very good team, but we can still improve. We could have been two up at the break, but the Hansa manager responded well with the triple substitution and we had to adjust. We wanted to keep a clean sheet. It wasn’t an easy game for me, but I see it as a challenge. I try to read every game and think about how I can break clear. I could have done better in some situations in the second half. All in all, they defended well against me and closed down the space. I’ll watch the game back because I want to improve and pop up in front of goal more often the next time we play. The atmosphere is obviously difficult to describe but it was great to play here today. Our supporters created a superb atmosphere and we’re proud to have secured another win for them.”

Jackson Irvine: “A great performance from us today! It was a tough game. Our keeper was world class today and the man of the match for me. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to win a game. Sure we could have been more efficient here and there, but at the end of the day it’s about the three points and we’re glad to have got them for the fans. We obviously saw what happening in the stands at the beginning of the second half and hope everyone’s OK. It motivated us to keep giving it all we had for the fans and take the energy from inside the ground with us. It’s been a great start for us with five wins out of five, but we’ll keep taking each game as it comes. There’s still a long way to go and our next aim is to win at Paderborn next week. We aren’t looking beyond that.”

 

Photo: FC St. Pauli

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