Thursday, manager Jaap Stam and new center back signing Gustavo Vallecilla sat down with media to discuss the bye week. Stam fielded some questions about the new stadium, but also about the criticism that he and his players have faced after back to back poor showings.
Because the interviews were longer than normal and very interesting, and because I like to give an unedited version of the press conference. I’ve decided to break it down into two parts. Part 1 is Jaap Stam’s press conference. Part 2 will drop tomorrow and will be with Gustavo Vallecilla.
On how he and the team feels having their first training session at TQL Stadium tomorrow.
”Yeah, it’s going to be good to be in the home stadium to train and to work. Everyone is looking forward to playing games there as well. For us as a team, it will be very good to play at home. Playing away doesn’t make it easier at times, but also you want to have a feeling with your home ground and then create a certain atmosphere.”
”It will be good to be there tomorrow to train, to try out the pitch and to have a feel with everything. That way everything starts to feel comfortable as well. If you don’t play there before your home game then it doesn’t feel like a home game. So we try to create that feeling so the players feel very comfortable playing there, so we can have success. That’s what we’re all aiming for.”
On how training during the bye week has been, and if he has seen a good response from his team following a rough match in Orlando.
”Yeah, training has been ok. To be honest, certain players have a couple of knocks so we needed to rest them as well. Knowing we don’t have a game this weekend, you try to prepare the players in the best way and also that you can train with the full group. So at the end of the day, you can work on things that we need to improve on, and to get more out of a game.”
”You saw the game yourself, that we conceded very early. That makes it difficult to grow into the game, but still we managed to have certain bits in the game where we did very well. We created opportunities ourselves, we concede two in the first half, but we had times where we should have scored as well. We had Barreal 1 v 1 and should have scored, and also some set pieces where we could’ve scored.“
“So we also did good things, but it makes it look very different when you concede very early by making mistakes.”
After mentioning that things needed to change after the Orlando game, Jaap was asked if he looks to take advantage of the bye week to implement some changes.
“We need to get these mistakes out of our system.“
“Sometimes you play other players, but it‘s not only about changing the players. It’s about executing the things that we did well. In this last game, if we don’t concede that early, if you don’t make that mistake, then the game goes totally different. It‘s up to ourselves, we need to prevent making those mistakes. In this game, and the previous games as well, we gave away easy goals for the opposition. That makes it easy for them to stay in the game and to be comfortable and makes it tough for us to grow Into that game.”
“We need to get these mistakes out of our system. Making these bad decisions. Of course as a coach as well, you’re thinking maybe we need to make some changes within the team, the personnel. That always goes through your mind if the opportunity is there. We also need to focus on things will did well, because not everything was bad. In that game we had opportunities ourselves to score goals. But you’re always looking at personnel in terms of do we need to keep these players, do we need to make changes? That’s for us of course to decide if we feel that it’s an important thing to do.”
Jaap was asked to give his thoughts on the criticism that he and the club has faced after two bad loses in a row.
”The thing is, we are the most critical as coaches of ourselves. Even more so than the people who don’t have inside information about us and what we’re trying to do.”
“People see that new players come in, but can we expect these new players to come from being in training with us for only a couple of days or a week, to straight away have an impact that we’ll be scoring I don’t know how many goals? You also need to look at the situation that we’re bringing in new players, but they’re also at times young players that need to adjust to the league, the team, the playing style. So that takes time as well. Then they can say “Well you don’t have time“. ”
"Eventually we will grow, we will bond, and we will succeed in what we’re trying to do.”
“It’s up to us on how the approach is, and what we are going to do. 3 games in the season, it’s still very early. There’s still a lot to be done, a lot that can go well for us in terms of making these steps, which is definitely going to happen. We also know that the quality that has been brought in is there, and eventually we will grow, we will bond, and we will succeed in what we’re trying to do.”
“When you’re not winning games, there’s always the criticism. It’s always been there. When you go into the league, and you bring certain players, Yeah, there’s always expectations. If you’re saying straight away that the expectations are there because we want to go up all the way, people think “They’ve said it so it’s going to happen.” In sports, in general, that not how it’s going to be. But yeah, criticism is always there and we are very critical to what we are doing and how we are working, what we expect from each other."
"It’s up to us to work and stick together to eventually get the results that we’re looking for, and that‘s what we’re doing. It’s easy to say from the outside “That’s not good, or he’s not doing a good job.” That‘s the job. That’s how it goes. At the end of the day, when you start winning games then everybody of course is being very positive and saying “I always said it was going to happen.” That’s just how it works in sports as well. We need to focus on the things that we can control and not focus too much on what people are saying. At the end of the day, the league is not being won in 3 games.”
On Center Back Gustavo Vallecilla now training with the club, and how ready could he be after the bye week to contribute.
”Yeah, he’s only had a couple of sessions and now he needs to step in.
Probably now when we make a decision on when he’s going to be playing or suppose we make the decision that he’s going to be starting, everybody will think that he’s going to be a center back that‘s going to control the whole pitch now because we brought him in.“ He said with a chuckle.
“You can already see in the training sessions that he feels more comfortable, and doing the basic things that we’re asking from him quite well.“
“That’s of course not the thing. The thing is, he’s a young player with a lot of potential. So in these two weeks we’re going to work him very hard in what we’re asking from him and he needs to grow into the team. He needs to get familiar with the players and what we’re asking from him. To be familiar and communicate with the players around him. So there’s a lot of steps to be made, but we’ve got comfort in him as well that if he needs to step in that he can do well for us. That‘s why we‘ve brought him in.”
“You can already see in the training sessions that he feels more comfortable, and doing the basic things that we’re asking from him quite well. Well, as a defender and also on the ball. So hopefully, in these two weeks he’ll make more progress, feel more comfortable and get confidence. So we can see before the Miami game if he’s going to start or not.“
Jaap Stam has never been involved with the opening of a new stadium. Not as a player or a coach. He was asked how he plans on managing the possible distractions while also enjoying the moment.
”Yeah, of course there’s a lot of things going on around the new stadium. Like I said, everyone is looking forward to it. There’s some things being organized for the opening of the stadium. Which is normal, and how it needs to be. Also, in the build up towards the game, there probably is going to be a lot more attention to it as well, which is very good.”
"You enjoy it a lot more when you get a good result.”
“The thing for me and for the players is that we need to focus on that particular game. We need to make sure that we feel comfortable playing in our own stadium. With the amount of fans that we’re going to have there, that we‘re going make it a very good day so that we can have a result. That’s what we’re working for. The players are looking forward very much to be part of that as well, and everyone is very eager to do well. To do well for the fans, to show them a different quality as well in terms of what we can do going forward. Hopefully, winning these games.”
“Yeah, what happens around the stadium and in the stadium, we need to put aside a little bit because there’s a lot of things for us to focus on. Still, when you’re there you’re going to enjoy it. You enjoy it a lot more when you get a good result.”
Coach Stam was then asked for his take on the news of the potential signing of goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and how the GK Union stands right now.
In a somewhat comical moment, Stam seemed to look away from the camera, presumably at someone as if to ask if he could comment. He then shook his head as if he had been told no.
“We’re always looking at every position, at what we can do. Goalkeepers are a very important part for us as well as other positions. The goalkeepers in how I want to play is a very important position. You know, the goalkeepers that we have, we trust them to give us what we’re looking for.“
In the next part of his answer, Stam seemed to confirm that Tyton’s injuries and the system‘s need of a goalkeeper that can start building from the back was the reason for Vermeer’s signing.
“I expect a lot of things from a goalkeeper, and Titi has done that as well. Sometimes he’s injured as well, so we need to take that in to consideration. For now we’ll just wait and see how everything goes. I can‘t go on about what we‘ve done or need to do about certain players.”
Finally Stam was asked if he had any concerns about the quality of the pitch and if he finds an issue, if he would report it.
“Well that‘s why we’re training there as well. We need to have a look at the pitch on it’s quality. Not just for us but for the people who work on the field. It’s important for them as well that they get good comments on the pitch and if they need to change anything. So that’s why we’re training there as well.”
“It’s important that we can have a good practice over there to see what we can do. Not just for us, but for them as well to see if the pitch is good enough. I think that’s normal when you move to a new pitch or a new stadium as well.”
As you can see, coach Stam had a lot to say about this bye week and about his club. Keep an eye out tomorrow to see what new center back Gustavo Vallecilla had to say about his new club.
By: Rob Burkhardt