It’s been a year full of milestones, and before the end of 2017, one was personal. The coach’s. Darko Milaniè completed 2 x 25, congratulations also on behalf of NK Maribor.
‘Thank you for the congratulations. I’ve heard the 50s are the new 40s, so I’m in top shape. I want to stay healthy and to continue doing work that I do, and remain surrounded by the people who I like. There are no other particularities; this year, I also received my gift before my birthday, from the players, who, through their exceptional work, have all contributed to the extraordinary purple story. It would not be possible to receive a greater gift than I did in this half of the season. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together; the lads were fantastic. I feel that they feel good and this is also my feeling in the workplace,” our championship strategist says on the occasion of his personal holiday.
The first moves after the last match played were about disconnecting from football topics.
‘First a rest and – a rest. The season was demanding; we needed a holiday. Ahead of us, there is such a long break that it was first necessary to get used to not having obligations and feeling nice. Then, it will be necessary in January to get used to training again, and once more it will be “a good time”. It doesn’t work without flexibility, and we sportspeople are quick to become used to new situations. There will soon be new challenges in front of us, there will be great motivation, and it will be nice to return to the Ljudski Vrt.’
The plan about what to do upon returning has already been elaborated.
‘We will gather on 9.1. Until then, we must get a good rest, and resolve the injuries that accompanied us in the end of the autumn part. Of course, we must do something before the re-assembly, and we have to work on making it easier to endure all the efforts of the preparatory period. Last year, we modified the winter preparations considerably, which are specific. I hope that weather conditions will allow us the desired implementation and similar preparations as in the past year. We envisage first carrying out training in the domestic environment and then moving to Moravske Toplice for 1 week. We will then continue our activities at home again and work in the central part for two weeks in Turkey, where the opponents are awaiting us, and where we will get that desired image on the pitch.’
The image in 2017 was exceptional. The bar has been set high, but the desire is to also have such an image in 2018.
‘National champions, the participants of the Champions League. A fantastic year is behind us, in which we have also realised the objective to be the first after the autumn part. Despite the tiring rhythm, morale was excellent right until the end, and this made me extremely happy. In the autumn, when there were so many matches, I got to know the individual members of the team really well. The autumn brought many isses we had not previously experienced, and by all indicators, we can expect an even better Maribor. No matter what changes will the team experience, if anyone comes or leaves, they believe in an even better image. We will spend more time together, and we take do the next steps forward. Despite European challenges, in percentage, we have won many points in the league competitions. We will have to make an effort to keep to this level. Because we have played such demanding matches that draw our energy, some troubles were to be expected, but European challenges have also been giving us confidence and thus the additional energy. We have learned a lot through the situations in which we were, and we want to remain in such a rhythm.’