Arnaud Djoum has labelled the coaching methods of former head coach Ian Cathro “confusing” as Hearts get back to basics under Craig Levein.
Cathro left the club in August following a disastrous eight-month tenure which brought just eight wins in 30 games.
The rookie boss sought to bring a fluent, continental style to the Gorgie outfit, overseeing an astonishing turnaround of players as he attempted to find the right personnel to implement his strategy, and Djoum concedes that he struggled to put across his ideas.
Levein subsequently stepped forward from his director of football role to replace his protege in the dugout and, while results have been mixed, the Cameroon international is adamant Hearts are benefiting from his more functional philosophy.
“It is totally different now. The way he is working is more simple and everyone knows what they need to do,” said Djoum. “With the previous manager, he would talk a lot about the small details and sometimes make you a bit confused.
“Craig is more simple and clear and that is maybe better for the young players and squad, as we know what we need to do. It is easier.
“The ideas of the previous manager were good, but the way the players understood was not very clear. I think the way he wanted to play is not always the best way to play in Scotland. It is direct football here and Craig knows this from his experience in Scotland.
“We played that sort of football under Robbie Neilson as well and, personally, I like to play this way because you create more chances to score goals and to get forward and make assists. I think the fans enjoy that too and we will try to excite them.”
Djoum is fit again after missing the last two months due to a knee ligament damage, providing a welcome boost for Hearts amid a run of three successive Premiership defeats.
The only saving grace for the midfielder was watching young stars such as Harry Cochrane and Euan Henderson shine in his absence.
Now he is keen to bolster Levein’s options in the middle of the park – while helping to develop the new generation of talent.
“I’m feeling fit,” Djoum continued. “I started training with the team again last week so it is exciting to be back and I am looking forward to the next games.
“It has been really hard for me to be in the stand, watching the team. It has been a difficult time with important games, so now I am focused to come back and help my teammates.
“While we had some injuries it was a chance for the young players to show what they can do and everyone has seen that they have a lot of qualities. They are just lacking a little bit of experience.
“Now I will try to come back and help them to be better. It is also good for the club to see young players for the future come through and show their potential.”
Djoum is returning in time for a festive period that will see seven games played at a new-look Tynecastle Park before the turn of the year and, while the building process has been protracted, he knows it will be worth the wait.
“I cannot wait to play there because I know when we play in front of our own fans it is like a 12th man,” added Djoum. “You really feel it and we have missed that.”