Stevenage boss Dino Maamria Q&A as he prepares Boro for ‘exciting season’
PUBLISHED: 13:49 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 29 June 2018
©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved
Stevenage boss Dino Maamria has been speaking after the club’s first day back at pre-season training,
With Boro’s entire first team squad reporting back to the club’s impressive Bragbury End complex to be put through their paces in demanding, heatwave conditions on Thursday, CometSport caught up with the bullish boss.
Read on for his question and answer session on all matters Stevenage with journalists after he and his staff worked the players hard on a gruelling day for the team – including his nine summer signings.
With exclusive pictures from our photographer Danny Loo.
The sun shining it must have been lovely out there?
Yeah it was fantastic for me seeing the players running around, I’m glad I’m not doing it but it has been a brilliant day for it.
It has been quite a good week, the defenders came in for some tests Monday and the midfielders came in for some as well Tuesday and then Wednesday the forwards came in as well so all new players came in to have a look round so today was straight in today.
Today was the official first day together and I thought it was a fantastic session this morning and we can’t wait for an exciting season.
What is your philosophy with pre-season training? Times have changed from running up hills, do you like to get the footballs out or is it first of all physical?
No it’s a mix, obviously we want to play a certain way and we want the right physical condition to do that so we can produce the type of football we would like to play we all understand as players and coaches that pre-season is part of the process.
It is time to get them as fit as you can, the most important thing is to keep fitness levels up and avoid injuries hopefully and get them fit for the start of the season.
There is no remit for pre-season as it is so unpredictable.
I am not really a fan of it but it is part of the process. So there is a mixture of everything.
There has been a lot of players in and out, are you happy with what you have got?
Very happy, it is understandable with the club underachieving in the past few seasons and I think the change is needed, they have been fantastic changes and the players who have come in have been brilliant around the place.
The young ones are hungry to do well and with the more experienced ones, they have been helping the younger players and it has been a brilliant mix.
Nine new players, any more coming in?
You never know, I think that I would like another two more maybe three but we have July to have a look and see if there is someone fitting with what I’m trying to do.
And the options of loans as well?
I’ll be honest, I’m not going to try and explore loans unless I really have to, I would like to have our own players and if we go into the season with a tight fit squad we will be fighting for the same cause and that is what I’m trying to do.
You are going away next week, tell us about that trip and why you are doing it…
It is important, we have nine new players in and it is important for them to gel so we are taking them away for five days.
Slovenia is a good place, high altitude training, different environment and I think it will bring the players closer together quicker, the chairman gave me the backing to do that and we are looking forward to it but we have four or five days before we go away first.
At the beginning of the season and clubs are struggling sometimes there is the excuse of not enough time to gel, do you believe in that theory or should they have already gelled?
It is always a gamble, teams take longer to gel and that is the only thing for us this season, it is about how quickly we gel because once we bond we will be fine.
I think it is true because if you look at the promoted sides last season, they had been together for three/ four years.
So it is a lot easier for those teams to build a team to get promoted.
I want to do that but a lot quicker and the quicker we gel, the quicker we get together- that is why I am changing the direction of the club so it is a smaller number of players and the quicker we get together, the better we will do.
Do you see league two this season as being stronger than last season?
League two is League Two, if you look at the averages, 1.8 points a game will get us promoted if we average that. If we do that it is possible, every game is there to be won and we are approaching it one game at a time.
The bookmakers have put their odds up and they don’t see you being title contenders, any thoughts?
I wouldn’t know I’m not a betting man, we just have to focus on ourselves really. We are an ambitious club, we want to be winning, we are use to winning and that is the route to take forward.
We will work very hard to be the best we can be and hopefully this season we can get to where we deserve to.
The backroom staffs are in, it feels very much so Stevenage from the past, is that the mentality you are hoping to bring in?
Of course, I think Stevenage is a unique club even in terms of its little history and I think we cannot lose our identity, we know what we are good at and I think the small changes will make us a better club.
We are developing everything, the training ground, the ground and also the brand of football as well but all in winning ways.
My objective is always winning and hopefully winning in a nice way.
You have brought in Scott Cuthbert, an experienced centre-half and also a couple of midfielders in Michael Timlin and Jamal Campbell-Ryce who are both experienced – are you trying to build the core of the team?
What was important about my recruitment is that if I was going to bring in experienced players, they have to be willing players as well and they have won this league before.
Hopefully they can guide the young ones: Mark Mckee, James Ball, and Luther Wildin – they guide those young ones to that way.
The balance of the team has to be right and I think it is right and hopefully we can hit the ground running.
Have you told the players already what the goals are for next season?
Yes, we had this meeting this morning. From day one they knew what I expect from them this season and that is between us and hopefully we see that on the pitch.
Any insights on what that may be?
There is no insight, we had the meeting this morning and we have been lucky because we had been doing it over two or three days. Bit by bit but today was the main talk with the full squad on what we want and how we are going to do that. It was only a half hour meeting about where we are going and now we just crack on.
With thanks to Max Mahoney for transcribing the interview with Dino. Follow CometSport intern Max on Twitter @MahoneysMessage.
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