|25.11.2010, 10:00||◄ last page|
Dragan Gajić reports that optimism remains high among Celje’s injury-ravaged squad.
Celje look for victory – against all odds
Celje Pivovarna Laško is looking ahead to Saturday when the team has one of its last opportunities to stay in touch with its rivals. Chambery was the better team last Sunday (30:24) but Dragan Gajić & company are optimistic before the return match, despite several injury problems afflicting the Celje team.
ehfCL.com: You’ve gained only two points from five matches. This is a very difficult position before Round 6 of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Does this situation surprise you?
Dragan Gajić: I can say that only the last match, against Chambery, was a surprise. We had many problems with injuries and couldn’t cope properly with Chambery.
At the beginning of the season our goal was to win in France. But in the end, only nine players were fit enough to play, and although they gave a good performance, they didn’t have the strength for the full 60 minutes.
ehfCL.com: As you said, you’ve had many problems with injuries, and only one third of the team was healthy. Will it be the same on Saturday in the second match against Chambery?
Dragan Gajić: We all know that Saturday's match against Chambery is the most important one in this phase of our season.
Our team will be far from complete because some of the injuries are quite serious. I hope I will be able to play, while Pajovič and Žvižej will be out for some time. The chances of Zorman and Koksharov playing are really small.
ehfCL.com: Does the awareness of the importance of this match put extra pressure on you? Chambery has to be defeated if you want to think about the Last 16, but how?
Dragan Gajić: It’s true. We must win.
It’s a good question, how, while so many players are absent. We must play aggressively in defense and try to score quickly and easily in counter-attacks.
We also hope our superb fans will help us. The atmosphere of Zlatorog hall should be our eighth player.
ehfCL.com: It’s not only a victory that’s needed, as a seven-goal advantage is also required.
Dragan Gajić: We are only thinking of how to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s by one or seven goals. We just have to get two points.
I’m sure if we do that, we can influence plenty of results from February onwards. We need one win to regain our self-confidence. The psychological barrier is very big at the moment.
If we defeat Chambery on Saturday, I’m sure we can also beat some of the group favourites in the coming rounds.
ehfCL.com: Was the team a bit shocked when Zvoninir Serdarušić resigned two weeks ago?
Dragan Gajić: Personally, I was shocked and surprised. I felt very bad after that. But we are professionals, and we must be able to work under all coaches.
I must be honest and say some players felt relief after he left Celje. They loosened-up a bit and started playing better.
ehfCL.com: What about new coach Miro Požun? Have you got used to him?
Dragan Gajić: There were mixed feeling among the players about that.
Now everything is more relaxed and the team spirit is good again. I must stress, though, that it’s not all about being relaxed and feeling good in the team. A lot of other things are also important.
The VELUX EHF Men's Champions League top game of Group A, Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs. Chambery Savoie (FRA) on Saturday 27 November 2010 at 19:15 hrs (local time), will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.
TEXT: Maja Mastnak