Despite a 2-0 win against Liechtenstein in his national team coach debut, Hansi Flick was not satisfied. This Sunday, Die Mannschaft host Armenia (20:45 CEST) in a game which could see Flick’s side go top of their World Cup qualifying group. Before the game, Flick and striker Timo Werner spoke in a press conference on the upcoming game and the lessons the team have taken from the Liechtenstein game.
... the Liechtenstein game: It’s important to me that us coaches are not blind and are there to talk about things. We weren’t satisfied with the scoreline in the Liechtenstein game, but when you’ve just started a journey like this, other things are also important. The key thing for me is that the team give their all in terms of commitment, which was there and was very good. After a few training sessions with a new coaching staff, there is an opportunity to bring in new ideas and philosophies. We need to improve several things if we want to score goals, like our positioning, passing and finishing chances, and we are working on that. The squad has a really good level of quality so it wasn’t a tactical issue. We created three or four good chances in the first ten minutes, but couldn’t find the confidence to finish them off. When we have chances we have to be ice cold. We would have liked to have scored more goals with a more effective start. We weren’t able to set up our chances in such a way that we could score more goals. That said, I saw good quality and good cooperation in the team – we have to stick together. I hope we can get our strengths onto the pitch as soon as possible. I trust the team, but we have to gel more.
... the squad situation: Manu (Neuer) took part in the last training session and is available, but Robin Gosens won’t be. He is recovering, and is feeling a lot less pain today. Kai Havertz has a bit of a cold, but nothing too serious. We’ll see if he can train today. A large part of the team we picked against Liechtenstein will start on Sunday, so we want to keep as many positions the same.
... next opponents, Armenia: We’re playing against a team who play 4-4-2 and look to press early from the midfield. They have lots of quick players who can play well going forward. We need to prepare well and defend the balls we lose. Armenia are leading the table and with a win we can overtake them. These games against Armenia and Iceland are extremely meaningful for us. We want to come out of them with the full nine points – that’s our goal.
... the return of fans in Stuttgart: The atmosphere in Stuttgart is always excellent. The fans have to see that we’re a team that gives its all. When something goes wrong, we always wish for support from the stands. I’m looking forward to playing in front of fans once again – we’re all looking forward to it!
... the lack of training opportunities: We reviewed the game against Liechtenstein and looked for areas to improve, and we’ll work on one or some of them in the final training session before Armenia, we’ll do as much as we can. The players play for top teams and under top coaches, so I think they will pick it up quickly.
... Leroy Sané: We showed the team a clip of him running back to win the ball after he lost possession so everyone can see what makes him such a good player. He is good at finding space in tight areas, and his dynamism is really important for the team. When he plays like that, we’re all really happy. He proved that he was ready to step up after facing some criticism in recent weeks.
...his first week as Germany head coach: I haven’t really had time to stop and think about it, but I love being back here again, it’s a brilliant feeling. I’ve got a great team around me with whom I enjoy working, and the squad is full of quality players. I’m looking forward to everything that lies ahead.
…the upcoming games: We want nine points from these three games in order to take another step towards our goal. We want to win. It’s nice to be playing in front of fans again and I think it’ll probably be harder than our last match.
…a poor chance conversion rate: Sometimes every shot goes in and other times there’s always an opponent in the way. We need to be better in the final third when we get chances to shoot. We’ve got a lot of players who are dangerous in front of goal, so I don’t think we’ve got a long-term problem. We’re working on these things. The coach will make sure that we know how to play against different sides. Once we’re more familiar with our tactics and runs, I’m sure we’ll take more chances. I’m not concerned about it. I’m sure soon enough we’ll be scoring two goals from one half chance. When there’s a tournament coming up, you have to know that every chance counts.
…his goal against Liechtenstein: It’s always important to score as a striker. The first goal of the season is the most important one, so it’s good I got off the mark against Liechtenstein. That gives you a nice little confidence boost.
…the new national coach: We’re pleased to be working together. I was happy because I knew that he’s certainly not a bad coach and it would be good to work with him. I’m satisfied right now as he started me and I was able to score a goal too, so I could prove he was right to play me. He’s a really good new national coach. He wants to try and give us back that confidence and relaxed nature that we’ve somewhat lost in recent years. He makes sure the players know that the whole coaching team is behind them, regardless of the result. That’s important for the players.
…Jamal Musiala: Jamal’s development has gone through the roof over the last year. He’s a great player and has a massive future ahead of him. We can be happy to know that we’ve got two or three players of his age. He’s a very calm lad, and doesn’t get too stressed about things. He goes out and enjoys himself. Us older players could perhaps learn a thing or two from his laidback nature.
…David Raum: He’s developed massively. His qualities fit right into our team. He’s a committed player and a real asset for us. None of us will be concerned if he plays because we know that he’ll do well. He’s got a bright future.
...his home Stuttgart: I grew up not far from the stadium. It’s my home so I’m always happy to return. Hopefully we can score an early goal, unlike against Liechtenstein, and show that we’re good players. That would then send the fans home happy.
…Benedikt Höwedes: He’s a really, really pleasant and cool guy. He knows the national team setup and how it all works having been involved for many years. He knows what players need over a 10-day period like this. He can see things from our perspective and has a lot of experience which he can pass on to us. He’s a great appointment.