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.
"To be the greatest" - conducted by Dana Surulescu
R: Artiom, are you satisfied with your performance this season?
A: On the whole yes, but I think I did better in the first fifteen matches and the team won more matches. In the second half of the season, I was less consistent, but anyway, it was a good season. It was important for us to ensure participation in the UEFA Cup and we've achieved that. We did have problems though with smaller teams, we've lost against Dacia Mioveni and Universitatea Craiova. That's football. We're trying to change things so that next year they won't happen again.
R: Do you have any regrets?
A: Honestly, I wish I'd have scored another 2-3 goals, but it's not problem, my brother managed to. I think both the manager and the board have seen that getting Arman wasn't pointless. He is not a substitute player. Next year, if we still play together, we'll help the team even more.
R: Does this mean you'll be staying at Poli?
A: I don't know, there's still enough time, I don't want to talk about this now. I've spoken with Mr. Iancu, but we have to wait a while longer, to think it all through. I have offers from other first league clubs, but also from Germany and Italy. I'm currently Poli's player, I'm pleased with that, but I believe that any player who receives a good offer from a solid team, whether from here or abroad, must think about what's good for him, because a footballer's career is short.
R: But still, you have a good contract at Poli...
A: If only money had mattered, then I could've gone to Dinamo, or anywhere else. I wanted to play football, to show what I'm capable of. All I do, I do with passion and determination ("with my soul"). I want to play abroad, at a good team, because I'm not Romanian, I'm Armenian and I want to be the first Armenian to join a major club. I work a lot for this and that's why I need some time to think about things.
R: Is Steaua tempting, because you'd play in the Champions League?
A: I don't want to talk about Steaua. I can go to Germany or Italy and maybe there I don't even play in the UEFA Cup.
R: Are you ready for the UEFA Cup?
A: I think we are. We only have two legs before entering the group stage. We'll do our best to get there. I've already played in the UEFA Cup, but I can't explain the feeling. You have to be there in order to feel what it's like. I'd prefer an easier opponent, so that passing this round won't be too difficult.
R: Are the final league standings correct?
A: Cluj deserved the title, because they fought until the end. I'm not saying others didn't deserve it. But Cluj had an eleven point advantage. I especially want to congratulate Tony, whom I've befriended during our matches. He's a good player and a good teammate. He's a man of character and on the pitch he only speaks nicely, from the heart, unlike other players.
The article further notes that Lazio might be interested in Artiom's services, although I personally don't know whether it's worth believe such a news item before it's confirmed. They would apparently be willing to pay the 2,5 million Euro release clause for the Armenian International.
With both teams having nothing to win or lose, and a pretty warm day in Timisoara, the few fans who came to see the match didn't have the opportunity to gaze at some high quality football. Poli controlled the game well and had several scoring opportunities before Badoi managed to score the opener in the 35th minute. After half-time, Farul managed to draw level through Todoran, but the white-violets put the game beyond doubt though the goals of Luchin, Ganea and Martinez.
Poli: Popa - Milhazes, Brezinsky, Luchin, Bădoi - Art. Karamyan, Ganea, Aliuţă, Abiodun - Bucur, Rusici. Martinez, Srhoj and Arman Karamyan replaced Aliuţă, Rusici and Ganea.
This was the last match of the season, a good season overall, which will see Poli playing in the UEFA Cup next year. If you want to gaze at player ratings for the year click here and download the excel file.
Congratulations to the whole team and especially to Dusan Uhrin Jr., who got the best out of what he had at his disposal, managed not to lose against the Bucharest teams this season (a feat unachieved for over three decades) and beat arch-rivals UTA twice for the first time in years!
I'll keep you up to date with transfers and the sort as soon as any deal is made official.
Srhoj and Arman Karamyan came close to scoring, but either the post, or goalie Multescu denied their efforts, before the home side managed to score. Pantilimon then had to make a couple of saves, while Multescu managed to keep out a good effort from Martinez. Half time came and went and the first quarter of the second half had really nothing to offer, but in the 60th minute, Ceahlaul managed to make it 2-0, after Brezinsky failed to stop Rusmir. Bucur could've have added his 17th goal to his tally, but Multescu made another save. However, Poli were to score in the 75th minute, when Martinez took the task upon himself and with a deflection managed to slot the ball past Ceahlaul's goalie. It wasn't enough though and the end result also establishes with certainty that Poli have finished 6th this season, after a particularly bland 2008 year, in which only the lucky win against Rapid and the well earned draw against Steaua shone through.
Poli: Pantilimon - Milhazes, Brezinsky, Luchin, Bădoi - Arm. Karamyan, Bălan, Srhoj, Martinez- Ganea, Bucur. Stancu, Rusici and Aliuţă were replaced by Bălan, Ganea and Arman Karamyan.
Match highlights here.