Salihamidzic on Pavard, the title fight and his work
On day six of FC Bayern's training camp in Doha, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic answered questions from the press representatives present and commented on newcomer Benjamin Pavard, the title fight in the Bundesliga and the record champions' activity in the transfer market.
Hasan Salihamidzic on...
...his verdict on the training camp: "It's pretty simple. The coach and team have been very focused. We've had some very demanding training sessions. There are still two sessions to go, but the most important thing is that everyone has stayed healthy. We all now have to focus and concentrate on Hoffenheim. It's important that we restart the season well and put on a good show there."
...the start of the second half of the season: "We have to think more from game to game now. It's important that we get off to a good start in the second half of the season. We haven't displayed our best side in matches at Hoffenheim recently, so we have to make up for that. It's always hard there, they play good football. But we worked well before the break, improved ourselves and played some good football. So I think everyone knows what's at stake and will be focusing on the next game."
...signing Benjamin Pavard: "We already knew him before the World Cup and watched him in lots of games. We decided early on to offer him a contract and he signed it a few days ago. It's a really nice story for FC Bayern. Of course, he also impressed at the World Cup and performed well, becoming world champion! That's not something that happens several times during a career. He was a first-choice player for the World Cup team. But we were convinced of his abilities even before that."
...the title fight in the Bundesliga: "Before the break we worked our way up to within six points of Dortmund. That was very important. Dortmund are enjoying a good season, but we haven't slackened either and have continued to improve. We had a good feeling going into the break and also before starting the preparation for the second half of the season. At the training camp, we went for it right from the word go. I know the guys are very focused and are happy to compete for their places. Therefore, I would never write off FC Bayern for two reasons: I can see how intensively the team is working and know what they have planned."
...the competition in the team: "It's important there's healthy competition for places in the team. Not many changes were made to the team in the few weeks leading up to the winter break. But now at the training camp you can see that the coach wants to ignite this rivalry, to give all the players the chance to impress and offer themselves up in training. That's very important to me."
...his work in the transfer market: "We have a very good scouting department. This is at the heart of my work and of the club, because the whole club benefits from whoever is signed and who ultimately plays. I'm very satisfied with the work of the scouting department. We try to be faster and faster, to recognise the qualities of the players at an early stage. Then we act. It's no longer how it used to be, where only three or four clubs were powerful financially. I don't have to explain what's going on in England and in the international market. That's why you also have to stand out on other levels, be faster and form a judgement quickly. We've done a pretty good job so far."