Arnaud Djoum welcomes an end to confusion over Hearts tactics

Arnaud Djoum  thoughtBT Murrayfield was Hearts home stadium when he arrived in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS.
Arnaud Djoum thoughtBT Murrayfield was Hearts home stadium when he arrived in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS.
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Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum is in favour of a “back to basics” approach adopted by returning manager Craig Levein, after conceding that the players were left confused by Ian Cathro’s tactics.

Former Newcastle United assistant manager Cathro lost his job as head coach last month after presiding over a scant return of eight victories from 30 matches.

The 31-year-old arrived with the aim of playing expansive, easy-on-the-eye football but, ultimately, Cathro paid the price for an alarming run 
of form.

Levein has stressed the need to keep the message simple for the players as the team bid to build confidence and much needed momentum.

Premiership leaders Aberdeen are the visitors to Murrayfield this afternoon and Cameroon internationalist Djoum hopes clear heads can lead to improved results.

He said: “It’s really important to get back to basics, do simple things.

“The way we wanted to play at the start of the season, you had to think a lot about details and little things.

“I understand he [Levein, pictured] wants to be more basic, simple football and don’t try to think so much when you play your game.

“I understand that and in the last two weeks we’ve tried to do that whereas before some players were maybe confused about what they need to do.

“With him I think it will be back to normality.

“We need stability, not a lot of changes.”

Djoum also believes the fact that Levein is not a stranger to the players will ease the transition, the former Scotland manager having served as director of football at Tynecastle for the last three 
seasons.

“The manager was there from the start and he knows what he’s talking about,” added Djoum.

“With him it’s a good call to be there and I think he will do good things.

“It’s an important call the club made to put him in charge and the players have a lot of respect for him.

“Sometimes he came on to the training field to speak to the players about how they feel and he gives some advice for the game.

“He was always very close to the team and he’s been there for a long time so he knows the club and the team.

“He knows how I play so that’s why I think it’s a good decision because, when you take someone else, you need to get to know the players but he knows everyone already. I think it will be better.”

Djoum is looking forward to running out at Murrayfield for this afternoon’s clash against Aberdeen as work continues on the new main stand at 
Tynecastle. When he first arrived in Edinburgh, the 28-year-old thought he would be playing all his home matches at the 67,100 capacity stadium.

He added: “I’ve never been but I live very close so every day I see the stadium and it looks really huge.

“I’m always impressed when I drive by it so I’m really excited to play in it.

“When I first arrived I thought it was Hearts’ stadium. I asked and they said: ‘no, that’s the rugby stadium’.

“After I saw Tynecastle and it was a bit smaller.

“I’ve been involved with the national team and played in stadiums like that.

“It’s really good. All the players want to play in this kind of stadium so it will be a good experience for me and the team.”

Djoum made no secret of his desire to play at a higher level before the transfer window closed.

The Africa Cup of Nations winner did not let the uncertainty affect him but admits unsavoury online messages questioning his commitment to Hearts hurt his family.

He added: “There was a lot of talk but I’m happy everything is done and the window is 
finished.

“The speculation is over and now I’ll be really focused on our next games but even before it was not a big deal.

“It was more the people around me. My family saw some messages and they’re not so happy because sometimes people can say some bad things about me because they think I want to leave 
the club.

“Sometimes they write some stupid things. I was personally okay but it affected those around me. That’s why I’m happy it’s over.”