Duty commands success. We know, however, how Rome struggled here

​Jaroslav Köstl spoke with journalists before the match against Tiraspol about the absence of head coach Jindřich Trpišovský, the potential historic achievement or of maintaining the top position in the table over AS Roma.

The main coach, Jindřich Trpišovský, did not travel for the match due to health reasons. How will your communication proceed during the match?
"We are in contact, but it´s always more complicated during the match. We experienced this at Fenerbahce when we were in a similar situation. It´s not an ideal condition. Communication with the operators is a bit worse here. We will try to connect maybe during the break, but it will be more complicated during the match. It won´t be a problem."

What are the differences in Sheriff´s home and away games? Do you expect a different match than in Prague?
"Primarily, there are changes on the coaching bench, which is probably the biggest difference. The formation and style of play have changed. As Lukáš mentioned, the first match was an anomaly where quick goals helped us a lot, and the match became much easier for us. Sheriff didn´t play well defensively. Even under the new coach, we still see extreme technical quality in their forward players, so we´ll need to be careful, especially with their fast breaks. We know how AS Řím struggled here. We´re not expecting anything easy, but duty commands success here."

When was the last time you spoke with coach Trpišovský and what did you discuss?
"We spoke on Tuesday and will call each other again after the pre-match training."

Zdeněk Houštecký will also be missing from the bench due to suspension, how might this affect the team?
"I believe it won´t fundamentally affect the team. We´ve been together for a long time, and we know how each of us behaves in different situations. I believe the players won´t feel it."

How will your communication be during the match?
"We´ll see how it goes with the technological aids we use even during league matches. Primarily on the bench will be Štěpán Kolář, Radek Černý, and Pavel Řehák. We can communicate in this setup, and we´ll see if we can also communicate with people off the bench."

Tomáš Holeš and Petr Ševčík stayed in Prague for preventive reasons. Will you rotate the lineup considering the demanding schedule until the end of the autumn?
"For us, it´s a Europa League match. We don´t underestimate it; we know what we´re playing for. We´re at Slavia, and we treat every match as a World Cup final. Otherwise, we won´t succeed; we have to give it our all. Those players have health issues. With Petr Ševčík, it´s more preventive because he has had quite a few injuries lately. We wanted to disrupt his rhythm a bit by not playing in Europe, so he´ll be ready for the league. That´s the main reason for the current squad selection."

How do you plan to motivate the players?
"It´s about discussion; they´re very aware of what they´re playing for. It´s not just about this match; it´s about the others that are coming, which everyone wants to play. We need to handle it, ideally to maintain the top position, which would mean we skip one doubleheader in the spring, which is also an important aspect. That´s also the motivation that must drive the guys; the other is the long-term process. It´s not just snapping your fingers and playing. The team is worked with for the long term and set up to handle such matches. So, we hope it will be the same on Thursday."

Keeping AS Roma behind you would be a significant success, wouldn´t it?
"We want the first place, as I hinted. We have it in our hands, and we don´t want to lose it. Finishing ahead of such a giant as AS Roma would be a historical record in its own way. We would definitely like that."

A very low attendance is expected on Thursday, what do you say to that?
"It´s a shame; it´s always better in front of a sold-out audience. On the other hand, our team core experienced COVID seasons; we played in front of empty stands against Leicester and Arsenal, and we delivered excellent performances. It´s about our internal motivation; we need to give our all and manage it."


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