Dimitrios Grammozis: Find a good mix between strong defence and creating chances

Following the disappointing result in Wolfsburg, the Royal Blues’ attention has long since shifted to Mönchengladbach. “When I think back over the last week of training, I have a really strong sense of the lads’ will to make up for the disappointing result in Wolfsburg in the upcoming match,” says Dimitrios Grammozis ahead of the clash with the foals on Saturday (20th March), which will kick off at 18:30 CET in the VELTINS-Arena.

Dimitrios Grammozis

The head coach is pleased with the week’s training so far. The bad news from the week are the injuries of Hamza Mendyl and Nabil Bentaleb. The defender suffered an ankle injury in training and will be unavailable for selection for the time being. Bentaleb underwent a groin operation on Tuesday (16th March). “I am convinced that we will be able to maintain the same intensity in the remaining training sessions – that’s the most important thing we can bring to the match against Gladbach,” says Grammozis.

The match against Wolfsburg is being reviewed and the mistakes are being addressed , reveals the 42-year-old, and stresses that he is not the type of coach to openly name and shame his players. “Internally we address it properly and the team are just as self-critical. I think it’s a great sign that things will improve for us,” says Grammozis, who is expecting the right balance from his team against Gladbach. “We have to find a good mix between strong defence and creating dangerous goalscoring opportunities.”

Paciencia and Huntelaar complete parts of team training

Two forwards, namely Goncalo Paciencia and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, have rejoined parts of team training and have been able to participate in passing and finishing drills. “We are trying to get them closer to the rest of the team,” says Grammozis, who also reports that the two long-term injured players are continuing to make progress. It is important to see “that the players are brought back into the team so that they can contribute to the team’s progress.”

Grammozis is full of praise for the upcoming opponents and their head coach. “Marco Rose has done fantastic work at Gladbach, even if the recent results haven’t gone their way so much,” says the coach, who is certain that Borussia will be well prepared for the match.

Malick is listening and he tries to improve himself every day. He is always super motivated.

Dimitrios Grammozis

The Schalke coach also has complimentary words for his own staff. A product of the Schalke academy, Malick Thiaw, was recently got a call up from Germany U21s coach Stefan Kuntz for the group stages of the European championships. “It’s a wonderful honour not only for Malick, but also for the academy and all the coaches who work with him on a daily basis to improve him,” says Grammozis, who describes the player as “very down to earth” and “very pleasant to talk to”. “He listens and he tries to improve himself every day. He is always super motivated.”

Grammozis also had praise for one of Thiaw’s fellow defenders. “We are in constant communication with Shkodran Mustafi because he is a very important player for us as he embodies what we demand from the team: absolute determination. He has younger players alongside him who he verbally coaches,” the head coach highlights the leadership qualities of the winter signing. “He was as solid as a rock against Mainz as he defended fantastically and gave us a lot of strength in defence. He is a really important player for me and he will continue to be in future for the team.”

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