Interview 26 February 2021

Dambrauskas: We miss the fans during such important matches

Ludogorets’ coach Valdas Dambrauskas traditionally spoke at a press conference.

Ludogorets’ coach Valdas Dambrauskas traditionally spoke at a press conference. The Lithuanian was recently selected as the #1 coach in his homeland. He discussed interesting topics.

- Congratulations on your achievement. What are your expectations about the upcoming match?
- Hello. (in Bulgarian). This is my first match against CSKA but not for the players. They know each other well and it is a matter of making the right decisions.
- How do you feel prior to such a match?
- I am calm as always. Emotions have no room here – they are reserved for the locker rooms. The mood is high and we train extensively. We need to act right when under pressure.
- Your colleague Bruno Akrapovic flattered you about your work in Croatia?
- I am thankful for that and I respect him. He also has experience in Croatia. We will compete in this match but I am younger, therefore I can only learn from him. He left his mark at Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) and is now doing the same in CSKA. We both want our teams to win.
- You love playing chess but will you attack first or be defensive?
- I like to be the leader in both chess and football. I prefer the white color which is symbolic – we are all dressed in white for a reason. Football is different because it requires a different strategy compared to chess. We are ready for this match.
- In case you lose, your team will be second overall this spring, which would be unlikely?
- I don’t think about losing. We train to win. The players need no additional motivation. We need to keep our discipline and maintain our tactic.
- Akrapovic said that he wants to be the grandmaster in this match. Will you be the young Kasparov or rather Petrosyan?
- We compare things to chess too much. I need to set the correct strategy and mood. A lot of things can happen in a match. We see things differently when down on the pitch. If we compared ourselves to either chess player, we will not be able to live up to that comparison. If chess is so important, we can set up a tournament between me and Akrapovic and see who wins.
- Do you think this match is more important after the outcome of the previous one?
- Nothing is changed that much. We need to defend our leading position and there are a dozen more matches after this one. This is not the most important match in the championship. It would have been nice to have an audience, though. I am sorry this is not possible. Still, we are confident enough.
- Akrapovic used the same scheme in his previous team as he uses it now. Will you use a scheme as well?
- I can adapt. I like the dynamic style and we need to have a clear play pattern. The players need to be creative. I had three defenders before in Latvia but Ludogorets has an attacking style. Many other teams like to be defensive. We scored two goals in the last match despite that we allowed three goals in our gate due to individual mistakes. We should have strived for an even score at least. We analyzed the match afterward.
- It is hard to be in the leading position and to lose it as well. If you win, you can have the home team advantage in the playoffs?
- It is hard for me to discuss this because it misses its main point if there is no audience. Fans motivate the players. We have 13 more matches to play, two of which against CSKA. The one on Wednesday for the Bulgarian Cup will be harder. We all work in the only possible way we are supposed to.
- Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk moved ahead in Europa League. You outplayed both teams in the trial matches. Do you hope for Ludogorets to be on the same level next year?
- Trial matches are not the same as official ones. I think the outcome would not be guaranteed to be the same in official matches with both teams. Ludogorets needs to be a curious example – I want us to be the team from a small town and a small country that shows quality football.

 

League table efbet League, 23rd round
1. Ludogorets 1945 55
2. Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) 46
3. CSKA 44
4. Arda (Kardzhali) 39
5. Beroe (St. Zagora) 36
6. CSKA 1948 34
7. Cherno more (Varna) 30
8. Levski (Sofia) 28
9. Tsarsko selo 25
10. Botev (Plovdiv) 24
11. Etar (Veliko Tarnovo) 20
12. Montana 19
13. Slavia (Sofia) 19
14. Botev (Vratsa) 18

 
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