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"Everyone can prove that they are eager for the task"

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After the international break, we're gearing up for the home game against SK Austria Klagenfurt. In the press conference ahead of the match, head coach Thomas Sageder and defender Maksym Talovierov, who recently made his debut for the Ukrainian national team and helped his country qualify for Euro 2024, were available for questions.

Headcoach Thomas Sageder talks about...

... the international break:
"We've had intensive training sessions with the players who were present. In the friendly against 1860 Munich (1:0, note), we experimented with a few things and also looked at some players from our LASK Amateurs. Since we've been struggling with our goal-scoring in the spring so far, we tried to provide the players with diverse options to regain confidence and self-assurance and to create scoring opportunities through different means. Naturally, we've also been following our players who have had some positive experiences with their national teams. In the past few days, we've prepared well for Klagenfurt."

... the opponent:
"They are difficult to play against, they play with intensity and aggression, and they are very strong in duels. They will probably sit deeper, which will challenge us to find solutions in possession. Additionally, they transition well, so we'll need good coverage and defensive organization. We also don't want to overlook our defensive stability."

... the personnel situation:
"Ibrahim Mustapha's injury was indeed a setback for us (ankle fracture, note). We wish him all the best and offer him our fullest support. Rene Renner is still undergoing therapy, Ivan Ljubic is in rehab training and showing improvement. Robert Zulj is in good hands after his knee ligament strain and is on a positive path. However, his return is not easily predictable, and we have to assess the situation day by day."

... work in the mental aspect:
"In this regard, we've taken some measures because I felt that especially the younger players were putting a lot of pressure on themselves. Sometimes, this can be inhibiting, especially regarding the absence of Robert Zulj. We wanted to convey to the players to see this situation as an opportunity to progress both in their sporting abilities and in their personalities. For instance, we showed the strikers their best actions so they could see that they're performing well but might need to work on minor details to reward themselves again. Apart from the game in Altach, we had many penalty area situations that we didn't capitalize on. However, we also wanted to instill the necessary looseness in the strikers because I consider this to be very important from a mental perspective."

... set pieces:
"We've been leaving too many opportunities untapped in this area, which is why it was important for us to work on it. I wanted to emphasize to my players the importance of set pieces, especially how crucial they can be in tight phases of a game. This was a major focus during the international break, and I expect us to show improvement in this aspect."

... the starting lineup:
"We still have the final training session ahead of us, where everyone can demonstrate and prove that they are eager for the task at hand. Especially in this phase, it's incredibly important to me to have players who are willing to give everything for the club."

Maksym Talovierov qualified for Euro 2024 with Ukraine.

Maksym Talovierov talks about...

... qualifying for the European Championships 2024:
"It was very important for everyone in Ukraine. We have a very hard situation now and it was an opportunity to represent our country and forget about the war for a few hours. We got a lot of messages of our supporters who said: 'Come on guys, we believe in you.' It was a really big day for us. I also have an opportunity to thank all austrian people who help us. We really appreciate the opportunity to continue to live and work here. That means a lot to us."

... the game against Klagenfurt:
"Every game in Austrian Bundesliga is very tough. We expect a hard game. We haven't won this year, but everyone believes in each other and I am sure we can break this sad moment. We really appreciate the support that our fans give to us and we will do everything to win this game."

... the preparation for the match:
"We have a team meeting in the morning, then we go for a walk with the whole team. We usually prepare for the game with videos, then we have free time to rest and focus on the match. The immediate preparation is most individual for each player; everyone has their habits. I change into my gear, I pray a little bit and then I get ready for the warm-up session."

... the best friends in national team:
"The closest friends are Georgiy Sudakov, Mykhaylo Mudryk, and Anatoliy Trubin. We have our own Instagram group chat and we always try to support each other. We know each other really well, for example I have a joint photo with Trubin from the U8 at Shakhtar Donetsk. Mudryk and Sudakov I met at the beginning of U21 national team. But I really appreciate that - just like at LASK - we're a really good team, which is really nice for the atmosphere inside. Whenever I want I can ask everybody about something. I know that everyone supports me and I like that a lot."

... EURO 2024:
"I'm not thinking about that right now. There are still more than two months until then and for me the most important thing is to focus on the games with LASK. I don't think you can speak about strong or weak groups. Every team at the Euros deserves to be there. I hope we have the chance to make it to the round of 16."

Pre-Match report

Tickets LASK - SK Austria Klagenfurt

The LASK professionals in international break