For example, Zlín player with Serbian roots Vukadin Vukadinović said that Partizan is in worse shape than last season. Do you agree?
Partizan still has great quality, after being knocked out of the Europa League, it got even stronger. It is still a quality European team. So I disagree. I know that they have strength offensively and defensively, but I won’t reveal the tactical preparation from our side in advance.
Do you have a full staff available?
Two or three players have some injuries and we don’t know if they will be fit. It’s about 50/50. The last few tough games are showing, but I hope that it won’t be anything long-term for either of them, even if they can’t start against Partizan yet. I’m still not clear about the line-up, there are two or three question marks.
Do you see a big difference between the main group and the preliminary rounds?
We wouldn’t have to be so mentally tied because the goal was to fight our way into the group. But the will to win and the concentration must be there. Especially when we play at home. We do not go into any match with a different attitude than that we want to succeed.
The stadium should be filled to capacity. What do you think?
I acknowledge that it’s sold out, now to make sure it’s full. The German fans bought a lot of tickets and we’ll see if they don’t leave a lot of free seats (Kolín supporters bought several hundred tickets through packages in free pre-sale and it’s not known if they will sell them to someone or if they will be empty – auto note). Hopefully it will be a great atmosphere like with Slavia, when it wasn’t sold out, but it was amazing football, including the spectators.
What result will you be satisfied with?
I’m satisfied that we leave everything on the field. Not only in commitment, but also in terms of organization and the will to win. We can go and share it with the opponent, but everything has to have a head and a heel. Our defense must be solid. The match with Slavia prepared us. We know we have to be compact in defense and score the first goal.
You played the last two league matches against Pilsen and Slavia. Was it the best possible preparation for you?
The match between Fenerbahce and AIK Stockholm was already a huge test for us. I was pleased that we learned from the duel with Pilsen, which didn’t work out for us in terms of results or gameplay. With Slavia, the team looked completely different. On the other hand, we still see our biggest problem, which is not converting chances.
Partizan eliminated Sparta from the Conference League in February. Did you base your preparation on these matches?
Half a year has already passed. It can’t be compared, the opponent had a change of staff and other things. Just as we didn’t watch Slavia at Fenerbahce, we didn’t watch Sparta either.
Partizan’s main weapon is striker Ricardo Gomes. What do you say about him?
An excellent footballer, a killer in the box. He scored three goals at the weekend, all from inside the penalty area, he is very strong there. But this is how we could name all the offensive drivers, bad players don’t go to Partizan and it shows.
In addition to the Serbian team, you also have Germany’s Cologne and France’s Nice in the basic group. Who do you think is the favorite?
Hard to guess. Competitions in Germany and France are among the TOP 5 in Europe, our rivals are definitely not playing second fiddle there. Both Nice and Kolín are excellent teams and Partizan will not want to fall behind. We will know everything only in mutual encounters.