Hearts' Arnaud Djoum insists '˜We must win our next game'
Three games without a win have no doubt left the sceptics more entrenched in their view of Ian Cathro than ever. But midfielder Arnaud Djoum has a privileged position in that he can report from inside the Hearts camp.
Despite disappointing results, he stresses the players are already convinced by their new head coach. They already trust in him.
Friday’s hectic match at Dens Park did little to ease the scrutiny on Cathro, whose team let slip a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Dundee.
But two games in four days under the lights at Tynecastle, beginning tonight against Kilmarnock, seem the perfect circumstances in which to kick-start the 30 year-old Dundonian’s managerial career. According to Djoum, the players know what’s at stake – a young coach’s reputation as well as a precious six points.
“The next game we have to win for him because we trust in him,” he said. “Every single player in the team has a lot of confidence in him because the way he wants to play, everybody wants to play like that, so the next game all of us have to really play for him to give him a good boost for the future, for ourselves as well for our confidence. It’s very important to win.”
There’s the sense some are simply waiting for Cathro to fail. Kris Boyd, who will be on duty tonight in the Kilmarnock squad, chose the very public forum of his newspaper column to air his view that Cathro is “way, way out of his depth”.
But Cathro has already dismissed Boyd’s comments. In any case, surely it is his own players who are better placed to provide insight. As far as Djoum is concerned, Robbie Neilson’s successor has already proved himself to be worthy of the title Hearts head coach.
“For me I’ve seen enough,” he said. “He’s really a very good coach, he’s very smart, we know precisely what we have to do. You can see (against Dundee) in the first half and even the second half the way we played was OK.
“So the way he’s thinking, the way he wants to play suits me as well because I like to play this way, dominating games and getting a lot of time on the ball,” he added. “We just have to believe in him. He’s a very good coach and good things will come in the future. Sometimes it takes patience to get better, but good things will come soon.”
However, Djoum admits that Hearts need to start delivering better results for the new man in charge – starting today against Kilmarnock and then against Aberdeen on Friday.
“It’s very important that we win these two games,” he said. “The Aberdeen home game is very important to win as well because as you can see we are playing good football, we dominate games, but it’s really important that we win games, because in football that is the most important thing. We will do everything to win the next game.”
Djoum is still figuring out how Hearts managed to lose their last match from a position of such seeming authority. Cathro’s side looked completely in control in the first 50 minutes against Dundee, scoring twice through a Jamie Walker penalty and then Callum Paterson. They could easily have had another two or three goals in this period.
But an injury to Don Cowie disturbed their flow and when Dundee grabbed a goal back through Darren O’Dea, the visitors seemed spooked, losing two further goals before the nine minutes of time added on were up. But Djoum stresses that the good parts of their Dens display shouldn’t be forgotten. The player himself believes he has never performed better in a Hearts jersey, which can again be treated as a tribute to Cathro, whose tactics seemed in the main to be the right ones.
“This was frustrating, I’ve never played a game like this before here,” said Djoum, who signed for Hearts last year. “I think this was the best I’ve played here. The way we dominated the game and created chances means we’re very frustrated, but that’s football, things like that happen. Maybe next time we will play badly and we will win the game. We just have to continue to work and play the way we play because you can see how we dominated the game.
“It has taken time to adapt [from Neilson] but we’ve only been working with him for three weeks and you can see today that we are starting to understand the way he wants us to play,” added Djoum. “We just have to continue like that and try to score more goals. I think in the first half we could have been three or four zero up, so we just have to continue to work like we did and everything will be better.”