Vladimir Romanov addresses Hearts players after Csaba Laszlo's frustration spills over

HEARTS owner Vladimir Romanov made a rare visit to Edinburgh yesterday – on the same day that club manager Csaba Laszlo let his frustration at the team's lack of progress spill over at a press conference.

Romanov has not been at the club since the end of last season, when he held talks with Laszlo about the first-team budget.

Since then, Laszlo has hinted on several occasions that the failure to invest in the playing squad is damaging the first team's progress, following the loss of the likes of Robbie Neilson, Christos Karipidis and Bruno Aguiar over the summer.

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Yesterday, ahead of tonight's Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter final away to Celtic, Laszlo admitted we was "angry" about the club going backwards this season, but said he would not walk away from his position.

"We must wake up; we can't ignore the situation," said Laszlo, as he pointed to the club's ninth place in the SPL compared to last season's third-place finish.

"This is my problem: we come up – third position. Going back again, something is wrong.

"We showed everybody we can move up and I would like to keep this – this is in my blood. Nobody can take this out of me, nobody. I am angry about this, about everything."

It is not known if Laszlo was aware when he made his remarks early yesterday morning that Romanov would be in Edinburgh on the same day. The club's majority shareholder, who is based in Lithuania, held an hour-long meeting with players at Tynecastle in the late afternoon at which he is understood to have discussed the team's current fortunes, and wished the players well for tonight's cup tie.

Earlier in the day, an animated Laszlo insisted a refusal to bolster the squad with experienced players in the January transfer window would almost certainly result in failure.

"If you would like to be better, you must have a clear structure," said Laszlo. "If you don't have a clear structure, the loser is always the manager. I would like to have development. After third place, I am not satisfied.

"If you would like to be better, you also need quality. A very good guy said, 'With youth players, you never win anything'.

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"This club must win something and the people are satisfied if they see the team can move forward. You must have progress.

"Progress is not a step back; progress is to move forward. And this is the frustration from many people after the third place."

He added: "If in January we have a situation where players are taken out, we must have a replacement.

"These young players need a guide. We cannot always say a 19-year-old guy is ready. He can be ready but this 19-year-old guy needs to his left or right side a 25-year-old or 27-year-old who can tell you, 'Look here, do this, look what I do and I'll guide you to a better performance'."

Asked if he was happy to remain as manager if the club continue to go backwards, Laszlo said: "I am not happy to not see progress but I am not unhappy to stay in this chair, as long as I see – with all the problems that we have – a clear solution, a clear structure.

"A structure must always be communicated for everybody.

"You must not only say internally what you want."

Laszlo said he speaks "every week" with Romanov, but he was reluctant to divulge precisely what the pair had discussed.

"I know how far I can go in interviews and sometimes I must stop talking about this," Laszlo said. "In every club you have problems, but if you ask me about the board and the owner, I try to resolve it internally."

Laszlo believes Romanov shares his frustration at Hearts' poor start to the season and insisted he was not looking only for financial backing.

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"I am sure if you are the owner of a club, you also suffer a little bit," he said. "The problem is not the money, the problem is the situation."