Michael Mancienne has begun to find his feet in the Bundesliga this term, starting all seven of Hamburg's matches so far
Michael Mancienne has begun to find his feet in the Bundesliga this term, starting all seven of Hamburg's matches so far

Mancienne: "Everyone is putting in a shift"

Hamburg - Hamburger SV's surprise upturn in fortunes has breathed life into a side that, four weeks ago, was staring a season-long relegation battle in the face.

Labelled the 'saviour', Rafael van der Vaart has played his part in the Red Shorts' surge up the Bundesliga table but, as defender explains, it's been something of a "team effort" to put the smiles back on the faces of the Imtech faithful.

Question: After losing their first three games of the season, HSV have bounced back with three wins and a draw. What would you say are the main reasons for that about-turn in fortunes - has Thorsten Fink made any technical changes?

Mancienne: I don't think he's made any technical changes, I just think the team has gelled a little bit more. Obviously some new players have come in and made the team a little bit stronger as well. The team's just getting used to playing together.

Question: Having conceded ten goals in the first five games, Hamburg have kept a clean sheet in the last two. Do you feel the team have become tighter at the back, where yourself and Heiko Westermann are now the regular central-defensive pairing?

Mancienne: I don't think it's just the back four. We're defending as a team, and that's what's helping us keep the clean sheets. Everyone is putting in a shift and helping, so I think it's a team effort.

Question: Rene Adler has been in sensational form between the sticks for Hamburg, how big an influence has he had on the defence as a whole?

Mancienne: I think he's had a massive influence. He's a great goalkeeper and kept us from losing games. He's made some unbelievable saves and is an inspiration to have behind you, especially when it's the last minutes of the game and the pressure's on us and you know he's behind you. It gives you confidence.

Question: What difference has the return of Rafael van der Vaart made to HSV's game and the mood within the camp?

Mancienne: I think he's been a very positive influence on the whole team. Everyone got a massive boost when he came and you can see it in our game play already. He's a great player who's got I don't know how many assists already and a beautiful goal as well. He's been a massive boost and a massive help.

Question: You're now into your second season in the Bundesliga. What's your impression of Germany's top flight so far, and what do you hope HSV can achieve this season?

Mancienne: Obviously I'm happy to be here. I think the football is great, it's a great league - and for the season, I just hope we do a lot better than we did last season. I think we can now, I think we've got a great squad of players and a really good team. We just need to keep playing the way we are.