Pep Lijnders mentioned earlier in the week the atmosphere around the squad is giving him extra confidence going into the season. Is this something you’d agree with?
Yeah, 100 per cent. True. There are different things that the outside world could think about us. We are together for a while. Humans are like this [and] we could possibly take things for granted. It’s like a long marriage – and if the butterflies are not that wild anymore, let me say it like this, then maybe you take things for granted. We want to make sure that we don’t do that. You can see by just watching the boys, how they interact, you can really see that this is a special group. The new boys coming in were welcomed so warmly and friendly and open. If you could ask them, maybe you did already, if they say it was far more than they expected then it’s 100 per cent the truth because I never saw things like this and I am in the business for a while.
It’s really special and, yes, it gives you more confidence because all the other clubs out there, they will want to improve as well and it will not be easy, not a little bit. It will be much more difficult, rather. So, we need to make sure that we are a special team and the one team that nobody wants to play against, that we fight more for each other, that we feel more togetherness and all these kind of things. I think it’s worth trying and that’s why we do it.
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I think we all saw the togetherness at the initiation night. It was an interesting evening…
So, I’m not a social media guy, obviously, for five million right reasons how I see it. But that was a night each second should have been on a video, and we should’ve thrown it into the world and it would have been, ‘What?! How is that possible?’ It was completely spontaneous and not planned. We had this wonderful location up on the hill. Absolutely brilliant. It was a long day, usually it’s like this, I was part of this as a player and as a manager, quite often it’s tired from doing not a lot, let me say it like this, sitting around, OK, good food – we always have good food. Then we had the idea, we say, ‘Why don’t we do it here? Why we don’t do the initiation night here?’ ‘Looks good, let’s try.’ The band who played the night made it possible for us from a technical point of view. nice name- Son of Kurt. It was really good, they made it possible for us and then the rest was outstanding. Absolutely outstanding.
So, this night is then made, I think we all set it up for embarrassment that somebody goes up there and has to go through hell with the mic in your hand and you have to sing a song you cannot sing, you cannot whatever, you don’t know the song, all these kind of things. But the atmosphere was great, with all the fun we had [it was] still respectful. There was some unbelievably good performances, so many unbelievable performances that we really enjoyed it and the time was flying. nobody had a [look at a] watch, or whatever, it was just great. I had a big meeting last night and I told the boys [that] I never saw something like this. It’s the truth. This is the basis we have to use. We as a group, the way we interact really with each other is something special, and we have to make sure we can use that for something big.