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Schultz: "I've already told the lads where we need to improve"

After a summer break lasting just shy of four weeks, the Boys in Brown rang in the 2021/22 season with the opening training session late on Friday afternoon. Afterwards, head coach Timo Schultz took time out to speak to the media. Here's what he had to say…

Timo Schultz on…

...how it feels to return to training: "I had three weeks off, something I haven't had in recent years. I even had some time away in the sun, even though it might not show (he laughs). I was able to get some rest and recharge my batteries. Three weeks was enough for me, though. I'm happy to be back on the training ground with the lads and I get the impression most of them feel the same. The sense of excitement is almost the same as it was last year and I'm looking forward to it. Last year, it felt a bit like I was entering the unknown. Now I know where I am. I have a good idea of the lads in terms of their fitness levels, what makes them tick and how they play football. We have some new players and we've also made a few minor changes around the team."

...the absentee players: "Those lads missed the start of training for various reasons but it's nothing to worry about. Some of them have had fitness tests and medicals over the last few days. Most will be back out on the pitch in the next few days. Some lads are carrying knocks from last season, though. It was dreadful luck for James Lawrence, who almost certainly would have been in the Round of 16 at the Euros with Wales now."

...his first team talk: "Most of the lads have known me for a year now and know what's important to me. I've tried to bring the new players into the fold straightaway so they know how we operate here, what our values are and what identity we've brought to the team in the last 12 months. And I've already told the lads where we need to improve."

...the current squad and potential new additions: "Generally speaking, we're well placed and have a good base on which to build. The spine of the team is pretty much in place, but we're always on the lookout, of course. We have our eye on two or three players, though we're certainly not the only ones. By the end of August, we have to be all set and ready for every eventuality. If I could wish for one player in one position, it would certainly be someone for the midfield diamond. With Rodrigo Zalazar leaving, we could use another player in there with a certain quality and experience and perhaps power and ruggedness as well."

...defensive all-rounder Marvin Knoll: "There are only positive words to say about Knolli. Of all the players who dropped down the pecking order in the second half of the season, he struggled the most with it. But he kept contributing and was highly motivated, always positive. That really impressed me. Knolli is thinking about his personal future now. He has a contract with us and I really enjoy working with him. He has a chance of playing just like everyone else. It's about having fair competition in footballing terms, as we said last season. This year will be no different. That's how I've spent my entire life as a sportsman."

...the goals for next season: "What made us strong last year was that we set a process in motion and wanted to develop as a team. A lot of people are fed up of hearing about it, I know. When that development eventually comes to an end, we'll have reached the very top. We still have some way to go. Even in the phases when things were going well, I still saw things I didn't like, things we can and must do better. Some of those things, such as the number of goals we concede, are obvious."


Photos: Witters