Daniel Stendel feels Hearts are improving despite run of defeats

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel insists his team have already made major improvements – despite losing his first four games in charge.

The German admits he is facing the most difficult challenge in his career but he feels he will improve – and claims his players are already doing the same.

A 2-0 home defeat by Hibernian on Boxing Day kept Hearts bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership but Stendel felt his team were “so much better” than their opponents.

Hearts have scored once in four matches against St Johnstone, Celtic, Hamilton and their Edinburgh rivals but Stendel has taken encouragement from the chances they have been creating.

“I can see we have developed in some ways,” the former Barnsley boss said.

“I can understand everyone in the stadium was disappointed but I think we played, not very well, but so much better than Hibs. But it wasn’t good enough to win the game. This was frustrating.

“We have improved so many things in the last four weeks and this is not easy after losing games to say ‘trust me, this is the right way’.

“I am not happy about the result and some moments in defence and offence, but 80 per cent was so much better than before I came here.

“We defended high, we pressed, we stopped the game in the second half most of the time in the opposition half.

“We can do better in the right moments defending and when we invested so much and risked so much that we take our chances to score. This for me is the main thing.

“I said before I started we want to have more chances than the other team. And we can do it. We have more chances than the opposition team but at this moment we don’t score.”

The 45-year-old inherited a Hannover 96 team who were destined for relegation from the Bundesliga but he admitted this was his toughest task.

“I think so,” he said. “It is a really difficult moment for me in my career as a coach.

“When you take things and it’s difficult, that’s when you learn the most. You can improve the most from a situation like this.

“This is a new moment for me and I can only say I like to improve myself and I will do it.

“What I only need is players who want to do it also, and then we save the situation.”

Stendel was reluctant to talk about January transfer business before the final match of 2019, against Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Sunday, although he gave a major hint that Glenn Whelan’s time at the club could be up.

“The club had a reason for signing these players,” he said. “At that time they think they are good enough, and I expected them to be good enough. This is the chance every player has got from me in the last few weeks.

“Some players get less time to play because this is my decision after my impressions in training. Other players get the chance to show me we have the right players for this club. At the moment the feeling is not so much.

“But we talk about things and we can change and after the Aberdeen game we have a little more time to work with the players and then we can decide if these players are good enough for the club.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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