Arnaud Djoum has called on Hearts fans to get behind the struggling Tynecastle side, telling them that manager Ian Cathro and the players need their backing in the bad times as well as the good and promising that things will get better.
A hapless exit from the Scottish Cup, augmented by some poor showings in the league, have led to dwindling levels of patience in the stands and, consequently, a nervousness on the pitch. But while the Cameroon midfielder accepts that results have not been good enough to satisfy the supporters, he says that the best way to battle through is for everyone to stick together.
“It is not so easy just now,” he said. “But I understand their feelings. They are great fans and since I have been here they have always been great. They are some of the best fans I have ever had but I know there is frustration because results are not coming.
“But we need them more than ever and I hope they will help us to get out of this situation, to move forward and to get better. But I know it is not so easy. In football, it is up and down but the supporters want you to win games, especially at home, and we just have to stick together and we will be fine.”
The defeat by Ross County on Wednesday night simply added to the pressure the club is currently under. Djoum saw signs of improvement in the performance but accepts more is needed to placate the disgruntled element of the support.
“We feel disappointed but [against Ross County] we didn’t play so bad, we dominated the game and we had more chances but we lost. That is a big frustration. They had one chance and scored but we had a few chances, hitting the bar, so it is disappointing. We gave everything and it is still not working but we have to continue to fight and to try to get back to winning games.”
It was Djoum’s shot which rattled off the underside of the bar while the scoreline was still blank and he believes that things may have ended more positively if the effort had bounced behind the line, or if team-mate Bjorn Johnsen had managed to keep his shot from the rebound on target. But he says the fact they could not capitalise illustrates how the breaks are going against the team at the moment.
“If I scored that goal then it would have been a different game and it is little things like that are going against us at the moment,” added Djoum. “When you see this performance then I am not so afraid about the future because we dominated the game and created more chances. We need to continue in this way and things will be better.”
The team now have a mini-break from competitive action, their exit from the Scottish Cup at the hands of Hibernian granting them a free weekend. It will allow manager Cathro time to work with the team and attempt to iron out some of the issues that have dogged them since they enjoyed back-to-back wins at the start of February.
Cathro has been attracting much of the fans’ fury, which is something that Djoum and his colleagues feel is unfair.
“I am with the manager because the way he speaks about football is good and he wants everybody to enjoy football. The results are not there at the moment but if you see the way we moved the ball and created chances [on Wednesday], we dominated the game but we have had things go against us.
“The gaffer showed the way we play is very good and I like the way he wants us to play so we just have to continue to work hard in training and get better. He knows football really well, he knows what he is doing and he is a really smart guy. It is small details that we focus on so I can say to the fans that he knows what he is doing with us.
“It is just that little details are working against us. But when the results get better I think the fans will enjoy it. They just need to be a little bit patient. The fans don’t always have so much patience but things will get better.”