In the 11th round of the Serbian Super League, Vojvodina will meet Rad at Karađorđe tomorrow. It will be the jubilee 100th match on the bench of the Old Lady for its boss, Nenad Lalatović, counting both times as the coach of the red and whites. In the 99 matches so far, under his leadership, Vojvodina has achieved 58 victories, 24 draws and 17 defeats, with a goal difference of 166:80. He will thus become only the eighth coach in the history of the club with over 100 games on the bench of the first team, with which he won the trophy intended for the winner of the Serbian Cup last season.
This valuable jubilee certainly represents only an additional motive for his team to achieve a victory against Rad, which has traditionally become one of the most inconvenient rivals for the Old Lady throughout history.
– Tradition is here to break down. Rad has really quality players who want to get their career back. They have both young and experienced players, and they are very unpleasent and fast in attack. They have an excellent central forward and two fast side players, and there is also Uroš Damnjanović, who I trained in Radnički from Niš, and he has a phenomenal left leg, so he goes inside from the side and makes a surplus. Their defense line is experienced, and they have Jovanović on the wing. I trained him in Čukarički and he is one of the fastest players in the league. We have to be serious, because a difficult match awaits us. Rad has nothing to lose and will come to play football. If they win a point, they will be satisfied, and if they win all three, they will be overjoyed. However, I am not interested in the opponent, because we are also going for three points – says Lalatović.
He once again referred to the previous match against Novi Pazar, which Voša lost 3-1 (3-0).
– We lost the last match in Pazar, but it is normal to lose sometimes. We did not, like some, invest seven or eight million in the team, so that we must not lose the game. It was our third match in 10 days, during which we had two difficult journeys. Of course, that must not be an alibi, because we had to play that game better. I was not satisfied, except for the first half hour. The way we received goals is unacceptable. We almost scored two own goals, and it must not happen that the team I lead, with such quality players as Vojvodina has, receives three goals in 20 minutes. That happened now and I think it will never happen again – Lalatović points out.
The Manager of Vojvodina emphasizes that he especially appreciates FK Rad.
– For me, it is a special club, because it is run by special people who love it. They have some incredible energy within the club and everyone is dying for the flag of Rad, but this generation of our players is also dying for Vojvodina. Last season, we won the Cup and were third, and after tomorrow’s game, God willing, we can be second on the table, which would be a huge success – Lalatović notes.
According to him, every success is difficult to repeat.
– Of all the teams, we have strengthened the least this summer. This is almost the same team that carried an incredibly big burden last season, and continues to play well this season as well. In 10 games, we have a score of six wins, two draws and only two defeats, and we are currently third on the table. I have nothing to complain about my guys, because they train well. I am glad that they received those two salaries that were owed, and there are still awards to be paid for Europe and the Cup, as well as the rates. I hope that it will happen during the next week, so that we will all be in a good mood – says Lalatović.
He is proud that he will celebrate the jubilee of 100 games on the bench of Vojvodina against Rad.
– It means a lot to me. Even before I returned to the club, I said that I spent my best moments as a coach in Vojvodina. When I returned, I said that I would give 10 years of my life to win the first trophy in my coaching career with Vojvodina, which I love very much, just like Novi Sad and our fans. From the first day, I was accepted as if I grew up here, which was not easy, since I come from Red Star. However, what Red Star gave me as a player, Vojvodina gave me as a coach and I can’t forget that – Lalatović points out.
He pointed out several times that he feels at home in Novi Sad and Vojvodina.
– I am very happy to be a part of such a big club, and one day, when I leave, it will be written that Nenad Lalatović is the fourth coach to win the trophy with Vojvodina. I will probably go down in the history of the club as the coach with the most victories, and that is not easy with so many great coaches who were here. Some of them are certainly better coaches than me, but I was more fortunate. I will only mention Ljupko Petrović, Miša Kosanović, Vujadin Boškov etc. I cannot and do not want to compare myself with them, because those are big names, who are far ahead of me. I still have a lot of work to do to reach them – Lalatović notes.
As a coach, he spent four years in Novi Sad, considering that this is his second term on the bench of Vojvodina, and that he also coached Proleter before that.
– Novi Sad is a city that gives me everything, and above all peace. The people are phenomenal and there are nice restaurants and cafes. I love when my family comes here, because I really found myself here. Novi Sad is called Serbian Athens, but I don’t like to call it that, because for me it is much more beautiful than Athens. I like literally everything in Novi Sad – says Lalatović.
Vojvodina will play against Rad on Friday, although some of its players played matches for their national teams on Wednesday.
– If it was chosen for us to play on Friday, I have no problem with that. I am glad that Saničanin has become a trophy player and a national team member of his country in the last year. That is commendable for our Vojvodina as well, and Saničanin already has offers. I am sure that he will get even better in December and that he will be able to cash in on his good performance, but also that we as a club will earn on the transfer. Topić played 15 minutes against Poland and 75 minutes against Estonia. He is planned for the starting lineup tomorrow, although I will still think about it, because he was previously injured and had a long break. Saničanin will certainly not be in the starting lineup against Rad, because he is arriving today and this would be his third game in 10 days. Still, I don’t want to whine. We have great players, I absolutely believe in them and I will choose the best 11 who can beat Rad – Lalatović points out.
He is satisfied with the course of the season so far, although he thinks that it could have been better.
– I’m sorry about those two defeats. We played great in Ivanjica and it was perhaps our best performance on the side. However, we missed the impossible. And against Pazar, in the first half hour, I heard their players say that they don’t know what to do on the pitch. However, then you receive one such goal, and then another, and then the team fell. I have to admit that before that match, the players were dissatisfied and tired, and it was a difficult weather, so it is not the end of the world. Partizan also lost there with Sadiq, Asano, Natho – Lalatović notes.
According to him, Voša is achieving excellent results this season, especially taking into account the available funds for strengthening the squad.
– Vojvodina is among the two or three teams that play the best football in Serbia, although it brings players from Kruševac, Ivanjica, Lučani, etc. I am sorry that we could not invest at least a third of what Red Star and Partizan give before Liège. If we had two or three more quality players, we could have passed Standard and entered the group stage of the Europa League. Sometimes you have to invest in order to get it back, and a placement in the Europa League would give us back much more than what was invested – says Lalatović.
He is known as someone who very hardly accepts every weaker result of his team.
– There are a lot of quality teams in the Super League and I have no problem with losing to someone, but it depends on which way. My players know what I told them after Novi Pazar and I hope it will never happen again, because this is Vojvodina, which must not concede three goals in 20 minutes, regardless of fatigue and dissatisfaction. I am not interested in that. They can talk about that later with the management of the club, but when they go out on the pitch, their heart must be left for Vojvodina – Lalatović points out.
In the match against Novi Pazar, he was excluded before the end of the first half, due to a verbal conflict with one person from the VIP box.
– I was fined 50,000 again. What can I say? I haven’t been excluded for a long time and I’m really trying to control my emotions, even though I’m an emotional person and I can’t stand being tossed by someone with a tompus and a gold watch, sitting in the company of Rasim Ljajić and Novi Pazar cream. If anyone ever praised and expressed sympathy for Novi Pazar and its people, it was me. I also said that I would like to be the coach of Novi Pazar, because the audience there is really phenomenal. If the club was organized properly and invested in it, it would be nice to work there, because it is a football city – Lalatović notes.
He also explains how his exclusion happenned in the last match.
– The one who insulted me for all 45 minutes thinks that he is a criminal, a scoundrel and that he is very dangerous. I can’t do anything to him, but I asked the fourth referee to kick him out. He stood four or five meters above my head, and then I prayed to God to come down. When I was sitting in the stands in front of him, he was so brave that he was afraid to look at me. I don’t like drooling people behaving like that, and his insults at the empty stadium were really distasteful. The delegate and the referee could not react, and I was excluded not because of the treatment of the opponent, the fans or the referees, but because of some father’s son, who has never lifted anything heavier than a spoon in his life. He thinks that he can behave like that because he is sitting next to Mr. Rasim Ljajić, who I really appreciate and love him and who apologized to me after the game. However, he cannot influence those cheesy father’s sons either – said Lalatović.
The match between Vojvodina and Rad will be played tomorrow at 6 pm at Karađorđe, and due to the current epidemiological situation, the match will be played without the presence of spectators.