The Czech Who Lead Timisoara Into Europe After 16 Years
taken by Adrian Bucur
R: Mr. Uhrin, how does a regular day unfold at Timisoara ?
DU: I wake up early, at 7:30. I drink a cup of coffee and read the news off the internet, especially from English websites. It also helps me learn the language better. I then go the stadium, with an hour and a half before the training session, to make sure everything is prepared for when the players get there. After lunch, I study tapes.
R: About how many matches do you watch per day?
DU: It depends. Usually, three-four. Approximately 25 matches a week. I also prepare 20-minute long montages of the matches for the players, so they know what they have to do.
R: And what do you do when you relax? Do you cook?
DU: I don't know how to cook. Only when in dire need. I usually eat at home and prefer pasta. And when I relax, I watch movies. On Romanian TV, there's little else of quality. I also follow Formula 1, it appeals to me, even if I don't have any favourites.
R: You said in an interview that the Romanian press is like a massage. What were you referring to?
DU: That it's serious pressure. Newspapers poison you all the time. I don't mind, but I feel there are too many scandals. One day you're up, the next you're down.
R: Do you remember any amusing moments with the players?
DU: I didn't laugh too much this year. But there were amusing moments. I really enjoyed it, the way I was treated on my birthday. I even received the Czech flag and I felt then that we are united.
R: Do people stop you on the street to give you advice?
DU: Daily! Mostly, they ask me whether I'll stay at Poli. I'm a good listener and I have the great advantage that I don't always understand what people are telling me. There's a saying that every Czech is a manager. It's the same here. Fans tell me who to kick out of the team and who to replace him with. Some have even sent me letters with the first eleven. I don't mind at all, it's actually quite amusing.
R: You've lost many important players during the season, McKain is the first example thereof.
DU: Poli helped McKain a lot. He earned a lot f money here and I don't think he did the right thing. I don't think he gave as much in return as he received. I'm not referring to passion, passion doesn't depend on money. He should have proven himself, achieved something and then want to leave.
R: What happened with Canu?
DU: Canu's exclusion was not only the consequence of his many bookings, although he did gather them easily, even red cards. He got off cheap, many times. I think he wanted to leave as well, even if he signed a new contract. I assure you that he wasn't suspected of selling out, but some things are better left unsaid.
R: Is Cristea a loss?
DU: He signed with Dinamo and is actually a Steaua fan! That's the truth. The goals he scored at Iasi he dedicated to Steaua! I know he had their jersey under the one of Poli Iasi. Anyway, this isn't the reason why he left. He just couldn't adapt.
R: Have you forgiven Ganea for what he did against Rapid?
DU: That event certainly didn't help our cause. All players should be aware that I won't tolerate anything similar! I forgave Ganea then, because I considered he was deserving of another chance, being a good player, whom we needed. But enough! I won't accept such misconducts any more.
R: Have you ever thought of resigning?
DU: No! I won't deny that there were rough times, but I never wanted to resign. For example, I don't understand why we have so many injured players. This cost us dearly. Maybe we made some mistakes in their recovery process, or in training, I can't say, but I'm looking into it.
R: How do you comment on the scandal around Steaua?
DU: Hard to say. People involved in a similar scandal in the Czech Republic now no longer work in football. This is corruption, for whatever reason you claim to give money to opposing players. In the Czech Republic, the evidence was clear and the people were trialed. I don't know if there's enough evidence in this case.
R: What team impressed you most this season?
DU: Rapid, even though they fluctuated. I like their players very much.
R: What do you wish for from the next year?
DU: This year, we aimed at creating a team and consolidating our group. Next year however, we want to achieve at least the same level of performance and play well in Europe, but I don't know if we'll finish higher than 6th.
For the First Time In 17 Years, Poli Has a Manager Who Lasted at Least One Year
R: How do you feel at the end of this season?
DU: I can say we are happy...it's over. Personally, I'm not very happy with the sixth spot.
R: Which results satisfied you and which didn't?
DU: I was especially satisfied with the results against other teams which earned European qualification, except for Urziceni. I'm unhappy with the results against teams trailing us in the league table, against which we lost. Especially the matches lost against Mioveni and Craiova, because they were at home.
R: If you could turn back time, what would you change?
DU: I think I'd have to make several changes against Mioveni, but against Craiova, every time I wanted to make a substitution, a player got injured. It was hard to fill the gaps, we felt we couldn't turn the match around.
R: You are the first manager in 17 years who stays at Poli for a whole season. How do you feel?
DU: What can I say, it's a good feeling. Actually, I only had to leave early once. I was an assistant manager at Slavia and when the manager was changed, I left a well. I think that was in 2002.
R: Where would you be now with a home crowd such as that against UTA and Dinamo?
DU: I think we'd have had a chance for the title then. But first, we would've had to play with the best eleven, without injuries and suspensions.
R: Which opponent impressed you?
DU: I liked Rapid the most, they played the best football. Tactically though, they didn't impress me. To my mind, a team has two tactical modes: a normal one and one for the result, to win a match. If Rapid had had the second, maybe they would've been champions. Changing the manager also affected them a lot.
R: So CFR had the best tactics?
DU: I don't think so. CFR managed to get many points in the first half of the season, but now, because of Steaua's shortcomings, they managed to win the championship.
R: Who did you miss most while injured?
DU: The players we missed most were Bucur and Alexa.
R: Are there any players who can be considered the best in their position in the whole league?
DU: It's hard to say things like that. But surely, in the first half of the season, Artiom Karamyan was the best midfielder left, Bucur the best striker.
R: Do you have any position that has given you headaches?
DU: I had a choice at one point, against Rapid, while against Urizceni I had no one to play as defensive midfielder.
R: Is the squad split between Romanians and foreigners?
DU: I don't think it is. It's a normal squad, we are all people who work and celebrate together.
R: Do you often speak with the players?
DU: Yes, when I want to speak with someone, I do it. When I don't like something, I tell them, and if they have something to say, I'm always open.
R: Do you know Contra?
DU: Yes, I know him well, I hope he'll join us, we'll see. I think he would help us a lot. He is a highly regarded player.
R: Would you let him be the team captain?
DU: We'll talk about this after he gets here. But I don't really care. That's the least of my worries.