Hamburg - Freshly-installed Hamburger SV head coach Bert van Marwijk laid out his plans for his new club on Wednesday.
"Every team needs pressure"
Speaking for the first time at the HSV helm, the Dutchman told journalists why he took the job, what he expects from it and where he believes he can take the Bundesliga's only ever-present outfit.
"I'm not here because of the great city or stadium. I’m here because of the task and challenge," explained the former Borussia Dortmund and Netherlands head coach. "I’m the kind of person who doesn’t shy away from pressure. Every team needs pressure, but realistic pressure."
The weight of expectation at the port city club has already got the better of five coaches in the last six years alone, but van Marwijk was in no mood to dwell on matters past. "We're 16th in the table and have conceded the most goals in the league. We want to draw a line under it [...] It’s not going well at the moment, so the goal is to get through it."
"Germany has become No.1"
As to why he chose Hamburg specifically after resigning from the Netherlands' hotseat in 2012, the 61-year-old had this to say: "Of course the phone’s been ringing, but the feeling had to be right. I don’t need much information. It’s about how I feel - at the club and with the people around me.That was the most important thing here."
In any case, the German top-flight has transformed into an altogether different beast since van Marwijk's last Bundesliga station at BVB (2004-06) - another reason why the Dutchman simply couldn't say 'no' to the job. "Of the biggest championships in Europe - England, Germany, Spain and perhaps Italy - Germany has become No.1," he said. "[Pep] Guardiola’s decision to move to FC Bayern München proves that."
"The top six"
Van Marwijk now has just three days to prepare for his first Bundesliga assignment as HSV coach at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday evening. "I'm looking to get something more out of all the players," he declared. "The short term goal is Saturday. I have to get to know everything properly. The first game is really important."
Thereafter, van Marwijk believes the club should be aiming for the "top six", but as he knows all too well, success cannot be brought in over night: "At my first coaching job in the Dutch league at Fortuna Sittard, we lost our first three games, scored one and conceded twelve. At the end of the season, we finished seventh." Given Hamburg's current travails, a similar conclusion to 2013-14 would prove a welcome pick-me-up, even if they have some hard work to "get through" first.