Hearts boss discusses compromising on tactics and demonstrating patience in his team’s survival bid

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Hearts manager Daniel Stendel admits he has had to compromise over his tactics and learn to become more patient in his bid to lead the Gorgie side to safety.

The German immediately demanded that the players adopt his high-pressing style when he he replaced Craig Levein in December. 

But despite glimpses of performances improving, results were initially hard to come by – with Hearts still rooted to the Premiership basement.

However, a more pragmatic approach to defending – chiefly asking his full-backs to offer more protection to the central defenders – has helped yield two big results – last weekend’s Scottish Cup victory over Rangers and Tuesday’s league win at city rivals Hibs.

And the former Barnsley and Hannover 96 boss now hopes a more solid base can be the foundation for Hearts climbing the table.

Speaking ahead of today’s visit of Motherwell, he said: “We want to play in front, we want to win games and play quickly after winning the ball. 

“But it’s not possible every time and I think, especially in our situation, it’s important to decide to do the right things at the right time. 

“With more confidence and a little bit more luck in the right situations, we would win more games. 

“We’ve experienced in the past that the first one or two chances is a goal for the other team and wasn’t so easy to come back from. 

“It’s good that we have more stability in our defence now and we believe in our quality in attack to score goals.

“You can say you want to play this way, but you need to look after the players that you have, you need to look after the situation. 

“The main point is that I want our style to have some things different to the other teams. 

“This is Hearts, this is how we play. 

“For me it’s a new experience. The situation wasn’t that a new manager came in and that was enough to work. 

“The process needed a little bit longer to change some things. When I started I said my patience was not so big. But I’ve learned more patience.”

Hearts climbed off the table for only 24 hours in midweek after Hamilton responded with a shock victory at Rangers.

And Stendel admits being in 12th place ahead of this afternoon’s clash has ensured he will not have to gee the players up.

He added: “I felt good that we had won (at Hibs). I spent a lot of time thinking on Wednesday about what I would say to the players in the dressing room when we returned to training on Thursday morning.

“With the result and the celebrations, I wanted players to keep their focus for Saturday’s game.

“I was going to tell them that it’s a whole new game, that we need the same concentration and same attitude for Motherwell.

“But, after Hamilton winning, I don’t need to say so much, do I?

“That’s the one advantage of that result.”

 
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