Hamburg – For Hamburger SV, the first half of the season was anything but successful. With just 16 points, the Bundesliga dinosaurs sit in 14th place, well adrift of their expectations.
Milan Badelj could do little to prevent that – in the defensive midfield, he was one of the few consistent performers in the Hamburg team. The Croatian does not see the first 17 games of the season in a totally negative light, though. "We clearly had the courage and the determination," he told bundesliga.com. "The team always give it their best, just small things have been decisive in the tight games, and it is precisely these games that we lost."
The 24-year-old also spoke about the mood at HSV, his expectations for January's return to training and his hopes for the second half of the season.
bundesliga.com: Mr. Badelj, was the 3-2 defeat to 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the final game of the first half of the season emblematic of the ups and downs so far this season?
Milan Badelj: Yes, it's got to be said. We had a bad start, but then came back really well under our new coach Bert van Marwijk. But then we suffered setbacks, like the home defeats to Augsburg and Mainz. We conceded goals far too easily.
bundesliga.com: Coach Van Marwijk said that everybody in and around the club get happy too easily, is that maybe one of the reasons for the poor situation?
Badelj: That could be a reason, but it's not decisive. We're actually playing good football, but sometimes we're just lacking the necessary concentration.
bundesliga.com: So you've got to work on your concentration?
Badelj: Yes, that's the main problem. We clearly had the courage and the determination. The team always give it their best, just small things have been decisive in the tight games, and it is precisely these games that we lost.
bundesliga.com: Are you able to switch off at all after such a first half of a season?
Badelj: The defeat to Mainz certainly wasn't nice in terms of the festive break, but we've got to look forwards. In the second half of the season, we can do a whole lot better, and that's precisely what we've got planned.
bundesliga.com: Do you expect Van Marwijk to change lots and try things out during your training camp?
Badelj: This is just the right time for it. Bert Van Marwijk will certainly have a few ideas, but like I've said: we didn't play all that badly in the first half of the season, we just got too few wins.
bundesliga.com: What is your wish for the second half of the season?
Badelj: My only wish is that we climb the table once again because for a club like this, with all it's tradition, 14th place simply isn't good enough.
Interview by Michael Reis