Like you might have seen in my series trailer (see HERE), Darko Rodic’s managerial career is beginning at his hometown club, Hajduk Split. If you want a quick refresher of the details & “rules” of this save you can read about them HERE.
We now join Darko a few weeks after he was announced as the new manager, giving his first full interview to Sportske Novosti.
Reporter: Darko, you sit here a few weeks after being announced as the new manager of your hometown club, Hajduk Split. How does it feel to manage your boyhood club where you started your career?
Darko: It’s absolutely fantastic! Wanting to become a manager is something I only realized later in my playing career. But once I made the switch to coaching, I always dreamt of one day managing the Bili. That it’s my first post as a manager is truly a dream come true.
Reporter: Is there added pressure, since you’re a local and former player?
Darko: I don’t think so. The pressure is always there for such a big club. We haven’t won the league in 12 years and haven’t finished in the top 2 in 5 years. The pressure is there no matter who you are.
Reporter: Your Director, Jako Andabak, came under a lot of criticism for hiring such an inexperienced and young manager. Do you think your lack of experience and age are an issue?
Darko: Not at all. I’m confident in my abilities. I learned my craft as a coach and manager from two great coaches in Zdenek Zeman and Peter Bosz. Also, having spent time at clubs like Roma and Ajax gave me a great coaching foundation to build from. And all that my age means is that I’m closer to the players and can better relate to them.
Reporter: So let’s speak about your influences. The ones you call your mentors and of whom you describe yourself as a disciple. Where will we see the influences of Zeman and Bosz in Darko Rodic and Hajduk Split?
Darko: The core principles I took from both of these men are very simple: play entertaining, relentless and aggressive football.
The other thing you will see, and this is no secret, is that I am a true believer in the 4-3-3. We will be lining up in that formation almost all the time.
What I ask of the players might change from match to match, but this is how we will play. I don’t believe in boring, purely results driven football. I leave that to those with less courage. I want us to leave an impression everywhere we go and I’m not afraid to let everyone know that!
Reporter: Very well then. Now let’s focus on the expectations for the 2017/18 season. What are they and how realistic are they?
Darko: Our goals are to once again qualify for Europe next season and at least reach the cup final. We don’t have great goals in the Europa League this season, but if we can somehow manage to reach the group stage that would be a great achievement.
Reporter: In your first days as manager you made a high number of changes to your coaching staff. Do you feel confident in your team?
Darko: No questions about it!
We all share the same footballing beliefs. None more so than Asmir Dzafic. We’re itching to get going this season.
Reporter: Well I don’t want to keep you from it and I know your first preseason friendly against Ferencváros is only a few days away. All the best for the season.
Darko: Thank you, I’m sure you won’t soon forget this Hajduk Split.