'The first half of the season was not good and we need to change things' - Hearts boss Daniel Stendel speaks on Christophe Berra, Glenn Whelan and Jon Daly, plus signing update

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The German manager has opened up on his January clear-out as he reshapes the Hearts squad

Hearts boss Daniel Stendel has said he had to "change things" at Tynecastle with the club suffering a disastrous first half of the season.

Daniel Stendel is preparing the team for the second half of the season. Picture: SNS

Daniel Stendel is preparing the team for the second half of the season. Picture: SNS

The German manager has come in for criticism in some quarters for his decision to banish captain Christophe Berra to the reserves, as well as the handling of the situation.

In addition, experienced midfielder Glenn Whelan had his contract terminated and coach Jon Daly moved on. The Irish duo both aimed parting shots at Stendel over the nature of their departures.

The manager was called "embarrassing" by Daly, while Whelan felt he was picked out for rough treatment when the new manager arrived to replace Craig Levein.

Stendel has said he is simply doing his job, making the decisions, in an attempt to improve matters at the club.

Hes aid: "With Christophe I can say I tried my best to handle it and maybe some decisions look a little bit difficult. But I have a short time to do things.

"Other decisions, I have no bad talk with Jon Daly. I can explain a lot of things, but I feel I do the best for this club.

"Honestly, I have not really heard what Glenn Whelan said, I have not heard what Jon Daly said. I hear a lot of things saying it was bad but nobody talked with me, and in our situation we are doing everything OK with Jon Daly and Glenn Whelan and I spoke with Christophe Berra. I understand his situation but I hope he understands our situation.

"The first half of the season was not good and we need to change things."

'His decision'

Berra expressed his disappointment at Stendel's decision in an interview with the BBC not long after being made available for transfer and moved to the reserves.

The 45-year-old was diplomatic, noting that the centre-back wouldn't get the game time he'd likely want after the winter break.

"I know everything he has done for this club and we give him respect and we also want to give him the chance to find his best way," he said.

"He is the skipper, well he was the skipper in this team, he is an experienced player, but the feeling is he won't play so much in the second half of the season.

"What can I do? Well, I can speak with him and give him the chance to decide what is the best. He is experienced enough to say 'I want to play, I want to do this'. This is what we tried to do with him.

"In the end it's his decision, I gave him the chance to think about this and he wants to do it."

Squad size

Stendel is hopeful of adding to the squad soon but is still concerned about the size of the Hearts squad.

Aidan Keena was allowed to leave to join English side Hartlepool United, while Craig Wighton and Jake Mulraney are not part of his plans and have been training with the reserves with Berra.

Stendel added: "We cannot bring players in when we have so many players but we hope very soon we have a new player coming in.

"We cannot train with 25-26 players, it's too much.

"It maybe looks bad from the outside but we try to give every player respect and find the best way for both sides.

"You will find in every club, every decision, it's not really the case that both sides are happy but we want the best for Hearts."