Last year, 73 points were enough for the first place, this year, 80 were enough only for the second. After a dramatic season, here is the first analysis of what has been achieved with the coach.
First, about the feelings after the end of the season.
“I am disappointed, as are all the fans of NK Maribor. This is because we have an excellent season behind us, but we were only one point too short of complete satisfaction. One point does not seem much, but it is. We won far more points than last year, seven, even more, we were efficient in autumn and we played successfully in the European championship. On one side, I feel great pride about what the lads achieved during the season, and especially more recently with the exception of those two “black” weeks at the beginning of the spring when results were not so good. Unfortunately, the feeling that we deserved more in the championship remains. The overall estimate is positive, also because huge progress is seen according to different merits.”
About the emotional turning point that happened during the second half.
“First half was completely normal; we were focused on the events on the field. We managed to stop the opponent with two fast hits. In the second half, though, our thoughts were elsewhere. In the moment when the fans learned about the lead of Dom˛ale and showed the excitement, we also felt the positive energy. It is really sad that this energy was cut off shortly before the end of the match.”
About the positive response form the purple fan brigade despite the lost championship title.
“The applause from our fans after the match, their faces on the field and on the stands – some of them even in tears – tell us a lot. Even though I do not want to show emotions, this really means a lot to me. It also means the motivation for the work in the future: to be better in the next season and move forward. The lads are all working to the common end. The foundations for successful work in the future are really good.”
Looking at the season, we must take it as a whole.
“We are disappointed for not being first. And this is OK. We are sportsmen with goals and we fought for these goals throughout the season. Thinking about fantastic moments we had in autumn, how few negative periods were there and what we have been through, we must not be despondent. Before the season, we said we would need to be patient, therefore the club set out new guidelines. After that, new Champions League occurred – the one which only the greatest optimists could consider. Despite everything what was needed for 12 European challenges, we gained 80 points. That is why the lads got a devout applause from me and the fans.”
Before the leave, the lads were given a plan for the summer preparations. The break will be short; the return is expected on 6th June.
“The lads must go on holiday immediately and forget about football. The summers are specific due to fast returns; therefore, the break will be really short. The players who also play in the national team will have a slightly longer break, but I am convinced that all of them will miss the action soon and will join us full of new motivation. We will gather again believing we are good, and we can be even better. In addition, we have to retain the unity seen in the locker room over the past few months. After the break, we will move on enthusiastically.