Yesterday, on the official Facebook page of FK Vojvodina, the fans of the Old Lady had the opportunity to ask questions to the new-old Manager of red and whites Nenad Lalatović. The questions were many, and the coach of Voša responded patiently to each of them. Below, you can read his answers.
Why Emil Rockov wasn’t at the goal in the last friendly game?
He played in the first two friendly games, and given that in remaining part of the preparations we have two more, we made the decision that this time Simić and Toroman split the time at the goal, by giving the first one 70, and the second one 20 minutes. Already on the next match, again Rockov will bi in the team.
Do you plan to stay in Vojvodina for more than one year?
I signed a contract for a year and I would like to work in Vojvodina as long as I do not go abroad. Of course, that is in case that the Management of the club does not change. Even the first time I was here, I had the same desire, but then there was a change in the management, and I think it was a mistake of those who forced that to happen. If that did not happen, I might not even leave Vojvodina at all.
Will you give Dejan Zukić a chance to play at least 30 minutes in each match?
I will, and surely at some games he will be in starting 11. He is one of the most talented young players I have trained and represents the future of our Vojvodina and Serbian football.
Do you think that Vojvodina started going in better direction after two years?
Vojvodina is a big club and always has to be placed among the top four in the table, because it has a great history and a reputation that is known not only in Serbia, but throughout the former Yugoslavia. My job as a trainer is to do my best to bring Vojvodina back to Europe and I am sure that we will succeed in doing so.
Will Damjan Goykov stay at the club and will he play?
When I came to the club, the management had already decided which players should be put on a transfer list. Among them, there may have been some players that I wanted to stay, but we shouldn’t go that much deep into that now. In any case, at this moment, the club does not count on him.
Can Vojvodina win the Cup this season?
I would first like us to secure a placement in Europe, and then think about the trophies, because we should not forget that Vojvodina fought for the playoffs last season. Of course, my greatest wish is to win the trophy in Serbia and it would be great if this would happen this season, especially since, even after leaving Vojvodina, I said that here I spent the most beautiful 13 months in my coaching career. I was very nice in Niš too, but nowhere like in Vojvodina.
How do you assess the quality of the team in relation to the main competitors?
The team is certainly better than last half-season, but some principles in the play have to change. Players have to return the winning mentality and hunger for victory, that is, to be even more slender and more aggressive in the game, and to be much better in the defense, because it is unacceptable that Vojvodina receives 10 goals in two games against Napredak and Red Star. As for the offense, I’m sure that we will be able to score at least one goal each match.
Do you think that the central backs of Vojvodina are sufficiently reliable?
All lines of the team should be worked on. Last season, Vojvodina has received lots of goals, but I do not blame the defense for it, I blame the entire team. Football is a collective sport, in which the defense starts from the central forward, and the attack starts from central backs. In order to receive less goals, all lines of the team must be much, much better.
Will Nešković, Zukić and Topić finally get the right chance and what do you think about them?
Last season, Vojvodina had a lot of risk with so many young players in its squad, and in the end did not play in Europe and did not sell anyone. It has to be worked wisely, and every young player has to wait for the right time to get a chance. When I was a young player, the most important thing for me was to play. When I did not have a place in Red Star, I wanted to go somewhere for a loan. Some of them might be able to go to the First League of Serbia, so that, when they return, they can immediately be a reinforcement for Vojvodina. Nešković is a talented player, as well as Topić, whom I have recently met, but it should be taken into account that in the first team of Vojvodina, from young players, we already have Devetak, Veselinović, Zukić… Simply, you can not start the game with five or six youngsters, or footballers under the age of 19. We can make the children of Vojvodina and then we can earn from them in the future, but to make the results and go to Europe in addition to much more experienced teams than us, it’s difficult. My task is to bring Vojvodina back to the European scene and to affirm, in the way, two or three young players.
Do you think that for the sports worker, comments and praises on the account of the politicians (the president of the country) that you gave during the previous mandate at the official conference as a coach, and at the same time a representative of the club, is something acceptable?
The fans have to know that at that moment, as a coach, I was in the worst position, because many wanted me to leave Vojvodina and send me to other clubs, which I did not wanted and I had the pressure that only I know. My thing is what I’m going to say and for that I have never justified to anyone, nor will I, but then I was brought into the situation that I should be banned for six months from football, just because I am the coach of Vojvodina. Since I saw what was going on and the club left without the management, I just wanted to point out that it is difficult for me to lead Vojvodina. In order to emphasize how difficult it is to run such a club, I mentioned how difficult it is to lead the Football Association and the country, and at the same time I said that those who are doing it now are doing it well, taking into account that they have even greater pressure and problems they are facing. It was not my intention to say anything political, although whenever someone asks me, I always say that my determination is for Aleksandar Vučić.
Do you think that Radnički had the favor of the referees last season?
When there is a good organization in them, big clubs always have the sympathy of the referees. I’m referring to Red Star, Partizan, Juventus, Milan… I hope that Vojvodina will have the favor of the referees, that is, that at each game it will be 50:50. Nevertheless, I have to say that during the last season, Radnički had only two defeats and, after Red Star, was the best team in Serbia. It played the most beautiful football and won the most points in the history of the club, breaking down many other records too. If we did not play so well, Radnički after my mandate would not have Ranđelović, who we brought from Dinamo from Vranje, sold to Olympiacos for 500,000 euros. Crnomarković was brought from Javor, who was relegated from the league, and sold him to Lech for half a million. Radovan Pankov, who did not play in Russia, for 350,000 went to Red Star. For Haskić we received an official offer of 400,000 euros, but Mr. Tončev is asking for 500,000. Goalkeeper Ristić went to Larisa, Drinčić came to Vojvodina… We did not have any kind of courtesy, we played good and quality football. At 40 games, we only had two defeats, with three wins against Partizan, a draw 2-2 against Red Star, a draw against Macabi… I am very proud of the period I spent there.
How do you comment the work of the Football Association of Serbia (FSS), considering the realistic failures of the national team in all categories since the leaving of Muslin and the World Cup in Russia?
As far as FSS is concerned, I am not a Manager to comment and talk about anything. I am only interested in Vojvodina and how to get it back to the European scene. Honestly, I do not watch the matches of the national team even though I want it all the best. I am sure that Slaviša Kokeza will put all this right, because he is a quality person. After all, after his arrival, our team went to the World Cup after eight years, and the U-21 national team participated in the European Championship. This means that a big breakthrough has been made in our representative football and we must be aware of this, because it is not possible that, just because of one match and defeat, drop everything that the Football Association and Slaviša Kokeza have done phenomenally over the past four years. Kokeza is my friend and, from me, he has the support.
Can we qualify for the Europa League qualifications and how far can we go in them?
At this moment, the most important thing is to qualify for the Europa League qualifications. The last time, with Vojvodina, I literally came half step from the placement into the group phase, although nobody expected that at the time. If we manage to qualify to Europe again, and if this team stays together, with two or three reinforcements, we will surely go a long way.
Why is it that you rarely get a chance to play to foreign playes?
Wherever I was a coach, I did not have many foreign players in the team, maybe one. It is usually the case that foreign players in Serbia will not play if they don’t get one or two salaries, and I do not bear the indiscipline. Simply, he has to appreciate the club he plays for. I can understand that he came to play for salary, but he also has to understand that salaries in Serbia are not regular. When I see him at training to train with 30% because the management has not given him a salary, he will not play at the match because I know he will not give his best. On the other hand, of course, I have nothing against foreigners, on the contrary. Only that foreigners must always be much better than the domestic players. I will always put a child from Serbia who fights for his family and wants to earn something, and the foreigner who comes with a twice’s bigger salary than him must also be twice’s better than him. If he’s not twice as good, he will not play.
Do you speak any foreign language?
I speak Russian.
Why you didn’t gave some Vojvodina players a chance to debut for the senior team, saying they did not have quality, and later you took them to Čukarički, where they regularly played?
It absolutely has nothing to do with me, because Leo Lerinc took them to Čukarički. Mićin was my great wish, and at one point I wanted to give him a chance to make a debut for Vojvodina, but then the people from the Youth Academy came to me and told me that he is not that quality, and that someone else should debut instead. I opposed this view and gave him a chance to play two friendly matches. After that, he operated his knee, and I left Vojvodina. Even then, I saw that Mićin was a very good player, while Tedić was not in the first team at the time, and I met him only when he came to Čukarički. If he did not hurt himself, Mićin would certainly have debuted with me, because I joined him to the senior team. People from the Youth Academy told me that in Vojvodina for the senior team first debut players who were members of national selections, but I told them that I don’t believe those whose the players managers are getting them into national team for 500 euros, which was happening in the period before the arrival Slaviša Kokeza. In Mićin I saw the perspective and future of the club, as I now see in Zukić, who will achieve even better than him. Mićin was eventually sold by Čukarički for 2.5 million euros and it turned out that I was right. I do not know how he came to Čukarički, but it was strange, fascinating and abnormal that he went there without compensation. While Vojislav Gajić was in the club, everything worked flawlessly, but after that the players left without compensation, which means that the club was doing very badly, so this question should be put to those who were at the head of the club and the Youth Academy at that time, because it is their huge failure.
Are you a member of any political party?
I’m not, nor will I ever be, but I always have my political opinion. I love people who are brave and believe in what they do, and nobody will ever change my opinion. Nobody pushed me into it, nor do I personally know these people, nor do I need anything in my life from them. I just love listening to smart people and I do not see why someone would bother it if I say that someone is good. He has never helped me in my life, nor would I ever humble enough to ask someone for help. I think that I am worth enough to make every success possible by myself.
In which league would you like to work and whether there is a club you dream of?
I am quite a realistic man and I know that, unless you have played in Italy for 15 years like Siniša Mihajlović, we Serbs can hardly get there. Of course, it is my desire to try in a stronger league, but I played in the Russian climber. If I was a Spaniard and I made such results in any other country, today I would earn several million euros per season. However, I am a Serb and I am the proudest person in the world because of it. Still, I have to be realistic and honest and that’s why, I would like to work in Russia.
Can you describe the following persons in one word: Piper, Nikolić, Obradović, Šegrt, Angelovski?
Will there be a striker who can score at least 10-15 goals in the season?
We brought Čović, who was my great wish because he is one of the most talented players in the league in that position. On the first friendly match, he scored a goal and already showed what I was looking for. He also played great on the other match, but sadly, then the opponent’s player fell to his leg and he injured his knee. He would certainly give 15 goals in the season. Now we have Matić in the attack, and Bojić, Zukić, Milojević, Neškovic, Eze, Gemović and Kokir can also play there. We have lots of quality players, and I especially believe in Matić and I believe he will certainly score over 10 goals this season.
Is it possible that Vojvodina wins 18 points in the first six rounds and then beats Red Star in the seventh round?
I hope that we will win as many points as possible in the first six rounds, and as far as Red Star is concerned, it is a team that has Marin with an annual salary of one million euros, and there are also Mića Ivanić, Ben, Boakye… They have a very strong a quality team, with a huge budget. However, when Red Star had the longest winning streak and when it was very close to overturn the European record held by Benfica, Novi Sad and Vojvodina players headed by Nenad Lalatović ended their series. I always tell my players to show that they can beat the big Red Star, so that tomorrow they can play in big clubs in Europe. If we get a chance, we will definitely use it.
If, theoretically, Red Star offers you to take over that team in the half-season, would you accept?
My great wish is that I don’t work in Serbian football at all any more, and that I will go abroad after Vojvodina. As long as I do not go abroad, I would be very happy and proud to be in Vojvodina, because I really like Novi Sad as a city and the audience has always been sympathetic to me so far. I need to earn their favor again, and I hope that I will succeed.
When you last trained Vojvodina, why John Mary didn’t play, and later we saw that he was the top scorer of Slovenian league and continued to score goals in China?
In that situation, I have opted for other players. John Mary has his own quality, but he is more individual, while at that time we were breeding a collective style of play through the possession and passes. He is a player who can play in the teams that play on the counterattacks, so that he can solve some situations with his speed and strength, but at the time we played a different football. That it was a good football, proves that we did not lose at home for 13 months and that we came half step away from the placement in the group phase of the Europa League. Nevertheless, I have a very good opinion about him and in the Slovenian league he showed that he is a good player, although I consider this league to be weaker than Serbian.
How many times have you won against Red Star in your coaching career?
I won with Voždovac 1-0 and Vojvodina 3-1, and two or three times I played draw. I was beating Partizan more often, but that’s because Red Star is a better team than Partizan. But, of course, I always do my best to win against Red Star.
Where are Voša’s children and the players on which the future of the club was based on in the last six months?
Even before I arrived, the club management decided that these players had to go on loan. They are the future of the club, but they must know that players such as Nikola Lazetić, Nenad Lalatović, Nemanja Vidić, etc. did not make a career by coming out of the youth school immediately into the senior team. It’s best for them to play, regardless of whether they are in Vojvodina or the First League of Serbia. I played for Radnički from Kragujevac and Milicionar in second division for two years, then one year in the first division and then, at the age of 20, I came to the first team of Red Star. This is the right path, because nothing can be done by force and overnight. I would like my son to play for Manchester United right now, but he must first train and try a lot. The fact that some parents have a greater desire for their children to succeed than the children themselves is their problem. They should just let their children play football and if they are talented, their quality will be recognized and they will succeed.
Which players in this transfer window are signed on your decision?
I can not divert the director Lazetić from myself, nor to say: “The director is guilty for this one, and I am guilty for this player.” If a player does not play as we expected, the guilty will absolutely be in common. Nikola Lazetić and I know each other perfectly, so if I do not even look at a player, if he brings him, I know that he is reinforcement for Vojvodina, just like he also believes in me. I am very sorry that I came only 10-12 days ago, because we could not sit down to see what we needed, so instead everything had to be done by the way. That’s why the club needs to know who does what and what is who’s job, and I think that the team Bajatović-Gajić-Lazetić-Lalatović will work phenomenally. Of course, I believe and count on the great support of our fans, because only together we can reach the goal.
Why is it that when we are talking about placement, we are always trying to be third? Is there no chance that we will be the first, we have no courage or is it a stable state hierarchy where Vojvodina should not be at the top?
This is not about Vojvodina, because I think it would be the end of the world that, next to Red Star and Partizan, someone else be the first. My former boss Tončev was brave enough to say, and I am brave enough to say that too, that I think it’s time for the title to leave from Belgrade. If everything is fair, I think it would happen in three or four years, but that’s the fear of many, even those who are much bigger than me.
What do you think that Vojvodina needs to be successful in the long term, rather than just one or two seasons?
First of all, to have a long-term management of the club, and secondly, not to sell players as soon as it receives the first bid, but to keep the team together at least two or three years. Also, there should be the same Manager in that period, regardless of whether it will be me or someone else.
When will happen that the champion isn’t Red Star nor Partizan, but someone else?
Unfortunately, not in the near future.
Do you think it’s okay to the other clubs that the government helps Red Star?
I do not know that the government is helping Red Star, but I know that it has helped Partizan for many years. Seven-eight years ago, they wanted to destroy Red Star, Vojvodina and everything that was red and white, but they failed. Red Star certainly has a big budget and at the moment has the best team in the league, and in advance I can say that it will win the third title in a row, because it can be seen by their team quality, organization and everything else. However, I absolutely disagree that Red Star is being helped by the government.
Why do you constantly hold a marker during the games?
It calms me to rotate it in my hands and simply, it’s a habit, no superstition. During a match, I give 200 percent of myself, and it’s not easy to run the game in the way I do it. However, I do this so that I can always get the most from my players. I have never been in a situation that I have the same team for two years, so that I can sit on the bench and relax. Even now when I have returned to Vojvodina, again it is a new beginning, a new play, a new creation, and it requires a lot of energy and work.
Is Seku Conneh still in the team and will he get a chance?
Since I came to Vojvodina, the club does not count on him and he trains separately. I did not even see him, nor do I know if he is still in the club, because nobody even mentioned him.
Which of the current players of Vojvodina, especially those younger ones, you see in the national team, both in the near and far future?
Zukić, Veselinović, and I think that this season may explode Đuričin, who is also a young player, because he is 23 years old. Topić is the future of the club, but to be at the level like Slaviša Jokanović, he needs matches. In that case, in the year or two he will be at the level to play in the strongest European leagues. In addition to them, I think that the closest one is Nešković, but also Kokir, who is a revelation for me. He is a super talented player, a child of Partizan. So far, I have had a lot of those that Partizan drove, so I changed their life and made millions on their transfers.
When can Vojvodina win the title and is it possible at all?
When each, but literally each match in the league is 50:50 in terms of the referees, Vojvodina can hope for a title in the next four years. However, as long as Red Star and Partizan have to be champions, we have nothing to ask for.
Who are your coach models?
I do not have them.
Would you bring another player to the position of the defensive midfielder?
This is a sensitive position, especially since we have young players in the defense, which is why we wanted Ostojić from Partizan to come, so that we can get on the experience. The defensive midfielder has to bring safety to the central backs and the entire team, but I am satisfied with how Đurišić and Topić are practicing. For now everything is going well, but we’ll see, the transfer window is open until August 31st. It all depends on how the current players will show up in the first match of the season.
Would you like to cooperate with the player of Rad, Njegoš Petrović?
He is one of my greatest desires. If the Management of Rad lets him come to Vojvodina, even with a clause that a contract is 50:50, I’m sure that under my command, at his transfer, both Vojvodina and Rad would earn millions. I would like very much to see him in the team of Vojvodina because he would be an extra big reinforcement for us.