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

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

©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,

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

With exclusive pictures from our photographer Danny Loo.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: 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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

I am not really a fan of it but it is part of the process. So there is a mixture of everything.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

There has been a lot of players in and out, are you happy with what you have got?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

Nine new players, any more coming in?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

And the options of loans as well?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

You are going away next week, tell us about that trip and why you are doing it…

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

Do you see league two this season as being stronger than last season?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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 first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

The bookmakers have put their odds up and they don’t see you being title contenders, any thoughts?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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 first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

The backroom staffs are in, it feels very much so Stevenage from the past, is that the mentality you are hoping to bring in?

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

My objective is always winning and hopefully winning in a nice way.

The first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOOThe first day of Stevenage FC pre-season training at the Bragbury End training ground. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

Read the CometSport website for the latest Stevenage FC news and see the Comet newspaper every Thursday for more in-depth coverage.

Follow @comet_sport and @stevenageborofc for the latest about the club on social media as well as @comet_layth and @laythy29.

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