Mönchengladbach - After Borussia Mönchengladbach’s terrible start to the season, interim head coach Andre Schubert has put the Foals back on track with three successive Bundesliga victories since taking charge.
bundesliga.com: To a man, the squad are now producing the performances which brought so much success during the second half of 2014/15. Only Josip Drmic hasn't quite hit the heights he is capable of since you took over…
Andre Schubert: I have only been coaching the side for 13 days [at the time of interview]. In that time, I have only been able to choose 11 players for each game. We wanted to make a virtue of stability and restore the players' confidence. To that end, we opted to go with the same pair of players on either flank: Fabian Johnson and Oscar Wendt on the left and Julian Korb and Patrick Herrmann on the right. Further up, we have been using Raffael and Lars Stindl, who have clicked right from the start of the season.
bundesliga.com: But how do you let a player like Drmic know that he won't be involved from the start?
Schubert: We've spoken openly with the players right from the start, including with Josip and, for example, Branimir Hrgota. Everyone understood that it doesn't mean that they're suddenly worse footballers than anyone else. For us, the important thing was finding a side which was confident, knew its roles and could therefore implement what we wanted to do on the pitch. Ibrahima Traore is another example: it hurt him not to play in Stuttgart but I told him that he would most likely play against Manchester City [in the UEFA Champions League]. He only came on as a late substitute, but got his chance against Wolfsburg and was outstanding.
'We are again facing deeper defences'
bundesliga.com: Traore was probably the man of the match, in fact…
Schubert: Yes, he responded really well. Obviously, those who don't play are disappointed, but they also understand that you can't change everything in eight or nine days and that this is hardly the time for experimentation. I'd still say to Josip that hunting the ball up top, finding a way through packed back lines and creating chances from these situations are his strengths.
bundesliga.com: But that hasn't been Gladbach's style of late…
Schubert: Well, what it has meant is that when Josip has to work in more space, he's not necessarily at his best. That is in no way meant as a criticism of Lucien Favre, but it was a tough situation for Josip. I said to him that he should look to use his strengths when he does play, namely trying to find a direct route to goal. Of course, that's the sensible option because we now find ourselves in the situation where we are again facing deeper defences. I would have liked to have had Josip here for the last couple of weeks, but he's with Switzerland. I’ll analyse his games with them so that I can see how he did.
'I suffered alongside the team'
bundesliga.com: Are you worried that the international break will have knocked your side out of its newly-found rhythm?
Schubert: No, the international break will do us good. If you see the players in training every day, then you can tell that the break has come at the right time. Against Wolfsburg, I suffered alongside the team and it was obvious that playing four games at that high a standard - FC Augsburg, VfB Stuttgart, Manchester City and Wolfsburg - meant we had almost reached our limit.
bundesliga.com: Indeed, your side ran more than the opposition in each of the four games…
Schubert: Yes, absolutely. Against Augsburg, we wanted to show the fans a full-throttle style, in Stuttgart we were forced into the hard work by the opposition, and against City we had to run more than the opposition so as to have superior numbers in defence and nullify their individual quality. Then, against Wolfsburg, we had to defend well again: when Julian Draxler leaves Schalke and Max Kruse leaves the third-placed side Gladbach to join Wolfsburg, there's a reason for it. Despite being a top team, they never really troubled us, because we hardly allowed them a chance. The boys have done brilliantly at putting into practice what we talked about.