Stanciu: We are like a family, that is the key

We are like a family here and I think that this is the key to our success. It is a pleasure to travel for training every day to meet those people, says Nico Stanciu after the 2019/20 title.

Nicolae Stanciu scored 4 goals and added 11 assists during his first season in red and white. At the end he could celebrate not only the Czech title, but also the award for the best foreign player in the Czech top tier. “It is always great to win an individual trophy, but the title with the team was the most important. Football is not an individual sport. Of course, I am happy to be awarded the best foreign player of the league, but if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t change anything. We have the title and that is the reward.”

First season and first title. That could be considered the beginning of dreams. “The season developed much better than I could imagine. From personal and from the team point of view. We had the honour to play in the greatest group of Champions League, we won the title. It was great and I could not wish for more.”

Nico’s first Czech title is however not his first title, he has won the leagues in Romania and Belgium before. “We all enjoyed the celebration. We deserved it. We have been working hard for the entire year to achieve this. If I can compare all the title celebrations, this one was the biggest. I enjoyed it and I was pretty tired in the morning.”

The 2019/20 title was the second in Slavia for manager Jindřich Trpišovský, who was also one of the main reasons why Stanciu decided to return to Prague. “He was the one swaying balance between whether to return or not. Without him I would never return to the Czech Republic.”

Jindřich Trpišovský also quite changed the pitch role of the Romanian international. “With him I changed my style fundamentally. I was an offensive player earlier, I couldn’t quite defend. But it has changed here. I became more of a complex player with better statistics in duels, which is not easy with my height. I also do more running which wasn’t usual earlier. My physio is much better now. I must thank the coach for those changes, I am a better player thanks to him.”

In the second half of the season Stanciu improved significantly, securing many important goals. “It could easily be the best half-year of my career. When the season stopped and we had to stay home, we all did our best to improve. The pause helped us, the offensive players could improve their teamwork. We have many great players here and I tried to understand their style of play, their habits, their movement to time my passes precisely. But it takes time. In the second half of the season our teamwork improved, and we could create many chances.”

As an ex-Sparta player, Nico wasn’t always welcomed by some Slavia fans. Bu this has changed during the season and by no means this was the case among his teammates in the dressing room. “This is the best team I have ever played with. Lads are fantastic, they welcomed me really well. We are like a family here and I think that this is the key to our success. It is a pleasure to travel for training every day to meet those people. It is amazing to see the players who won the title last year, qualified for the Europa League quarter finals and played in the Champions League train harder and harder every day. Their desire to succeed is unbelievable and it is fantastic for me to be part of this group.”

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