Questions to national coach Hansi Flick after the national football team’s 1-1 draw with Hungary in the Nations League in Budapest on Saturday evening.
Before the match, I requested a 100% commitment from the players. Have you seen this?
Hansi Flick: First of all, it must be said that Hungary did a good job. I also said that after a match like England, they are the strongest opponents you can imagine. It was a great mood, great atmosphere. Unfortunately, we were not quite able to carry out what we had planned. We simply built without conviction, and we were too slow to build the game. We made it relatively easy for the opponent to stay pressed. And it must be said that we allowed one thing or another on the defensive, and this simply should not be the case. But I must also say that we are on the way to development. I think the team will learn a lot from this match. This is the positive thing for me. We will analyze everything else carefully and then try to beat Italy at home on Tuesday. It won’t be easy either. But we still expect the team to put everything in it and then go on vacation with a win.
What is the plan for Sunday?
click: We will renew, but we will also train a replacement player, which is completely normal. We are also preparing very carefully and seriously for this match against Italy. I think we’ll give the team a night off. A free evening always means that the team goes out to eat together and then returns to the hotel at a certain time.
Do you agree that Manuel Neuer outperforms the other players in terms of performance? Could that give field players something to look for in a goalkeeper?
click: It usually happens that when the goalkeeper is outstanding, something is wrong with the game. I’ve said it many times before, Manu is a totally world class goalkeeper and he kept that point for us in Budapest today, and he stuck with it. Not all was well. If you like it, one of the few options we’ve done well is to put the ball behind the back line. So we did it 1:1. We had a chance or two where something was missing at the end. If you want to say you don’t have a chance and then such a separation in the team then of course you have to take the big chance that we had to make 2-1. Whereas Jonas (Hoffmann) wanted to glimpse Timo Werner again. In the end, the conviction is simply lacking to say, I’m going to put the ball on now and not let go of the responsibility. Jonas had a good game for me because he kept trying to run fast to advance the defense, often falling behind the line of defense. He tried everything and he deserved the goal.
How did you see Timo Werner?
click: I would let it work given the fact that we are completely lacking in conviction in the team. It is true that he is making a lot of effort and trying to put pressure on the opponent. It always presents itself. But we don’t have enough chances to score, and that’s ultimately what we’re missing in conviction at the moment, maybe someone has the guts and pulls out of the second row. Correct scores are not visible at the moment. We have to work on it. It’s just our topic.
You have talked about development that can mean many things in football. Where have there been concrete developments? And where are you behind you?
click: If you look at the stats – I don’t think we have a lot of goals. We can do it better. I don’t want to make any excuses here – we have a long season behind us, you can see that in the big countries, where the sharpness is sometimes lacking, the dynamism is missing to approach the game with conviction. I don’t know if it was just us. We’ve had a day off now after the match against England. We imagine a lot without question. But I also told the team it wasn’t going to be easy, and that there were also setbacks. It was a step back for us in terms of the result and the way we handled the match. However, if you look at the table, nothing will happen. This should also give us a little hope, but also the courage, to say goodbye to Italy in Gladbach with a triple pointer. That’s our focus now, and we’ll see we prepare for that.
What does it mean to reach the Nations League finals?
click: Our claim and our goal to achieve. Nothing has been decided in this group yet, everyone is close to each other. It should be clear to us that we simply have to step it up a bit – maybe two or three. We will also try to exclude that from the team. The technical staff also made it clear that our goal is to be in the fourth final in June. Because this is another chance for the team to advance even more for the big tournament in Germany. It would be fine if you could then compete with the major nations.
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