Robbie Neilson: We’ve better strikers at Hearts than Juanma

Juanma netted 13 goals last season before being sent out on loan. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Juanma netted 13 goals last season before being sent out on loan. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Robbie Neilson insists frozen-out frontman Juanma is not the answer to Hearts’ striking crisis.

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The Jambos boss signed four new strikers during the summer but so far Tony Watt, Conor Sammon, Robbie Muirhead and Bjorn Johnsen have netted just four goals between them.

Yet Tynecastle boss Neilson reckons they are all better than Spanish hitman Juanma - currently back in his homeland after joining second division outfit UCAM Murcia on a season-long loan.

The former Alaves forward hit 13 goals for the Jambos last term, but Neilson has ruled out recalling the 26-year-old in January.

He said: “Juanma is there until the end of the season so we will deal with that next summer.

“It is up to the club that he moved to what happens next but the situation at the moment is that I feel we have better strikers here than (bringing him back) would offer us.”

Hearts are currently four games without a win but their head coach is relaxed about his strikers’ form.

And he warned the Gorgie faithful it could take some of their new signings, like New York-born American-Norwegian Johnsen, 12 months to find their feet in Scotland.

Neilson, who confirmed he is looking to add a left-sided midfielder to his squad in the January transfer window, said: “It’s still early in the season. We’re still only a third of the way through, 13 games in. It’s not a huge issue at the minute.

“The guys are working hard, creating chances and working for the team. It will click in soon because they are all good players. There is no issue there at all.

“It’s like anything in football, though - you get judged game to game. You bring a new player in and he is judged within two minutes of his first touch of the ball.

“But it can take players coming in here up to a year to settle in. You’re asking guys, some of them from different continents, to come to Scotland and somehow just click into 100mph football on astroturf. It’s difficult.

“The fans may not want to give players that time but it is my job to manage the expectations and the pressure on the player.”

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