By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
The New Jersey native, asked directly about his problems with benched striker Andrej Kramaric, hinted that the Croat would once again begin the game on the bench.
|Pellegrino Matarazzo||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim|
Ahead of a must-win relegation six pointer against Hertha BSC, TSG 1889 Hoffenheim head-coach Pellegrino Matarazzo had to field questions about his potential imminent sacking on Friday. A sixth defeat in as many matches in charge will certainly spell the end of the American’s short tenure. The Kraichgauer trainer acknowledged that he understood this.
“It has no effect on my personally,” Matarazzo noted, “I know how the business works. What’s being printed in the papers doesn’t interest me. The only pressure I feel is internal. I’m happy to work even through challenging times, because it’s only by working through such times that one can create beautiful moments in life.”
Matarazzo was also questioned about his controversial benching of the squad’s joint-leading goal-scorer Andrej Kramaric. The TSG trainer conceded that the Croat marksman was not happy about being excluded last week and not even used off the bench. In continuing to discuss the issue, however, it looked to be the case that a return to the starting XI against Hertha wouldn’t be in the cards for the 31-year-old.
“Of course he’s not happy if he’s not playing,” Matarazzo said of Kramaric, “It wouldn’t be normal if he was happy. What’s important to me is how a player reacts to that; how he performs in training the next week. I trust Andrej has the potential to help us avoid relegation.”
“I really liked the interaction [between previous attacking starters Ihlas Bebou and Munus Dabbur],” Matarazzo nevertheless continued, “They confirmed in the game what they had previously shown in training. Namely, that they harmonize well, look for one another, and complement each other in terms of skills.”
When it came to the overall mood of the team, Matarazzo had to concede that there obviously weren’t positive vibes flowing through the TSG camp. There could hardly be expected to be any within a squad that hasn’t won a match since last October.
“There’s anger and dissatisfaction within the team,” the coach admitted, “Anger tends to blind, but if one keeps a clear head it can also be transformed into energy. That’s what I’m currently feeling from the team. No fear, just anger, dissatisfaction, and the will to turn the situation around. I consider myself in a good position to help the team find the necessary clarity.”