Nicolae Croitoru, former coach of Chindia Targoviste, has accepted the challenge of taking over Politehnica Timisoara in the middle of the championship. The 54-year-old coach arrived at the beginning of October, in a less successful period for our team from a sporting point of view. Gradually, the game and the results of the blue-and-white team improved.

Here is a short interview with our “principal” about his first two months of work on Bega.

Mr. Croitoru, the first question is related to what were your expectations when you arrived and what was the situation you found at the team?

It’s not necessarily that I had, I know, certain expectations. I knew it was a difficult situation because it was shown by the results. There were four defeats in a row before the win against Braila. It was clear that it was quite a difficult situation. Then, as you know, after we started work, things were not very good in the first half either. There were the three defeats, with Slobozia, Ripensia and Dej. Of course, there was the situation in Slobozia, with that game through the puddles, basically a game that didn’t even allow us to make a very good assessment of the team. Because it was a game in which I think the will, the attitude stood out, and at least in these aspects we were pretty good in the game with Slobozia. Then there was the game in Dej, where I think that to some extent things were influenced by the tiredness accumulated in the game against Rapid, in the Romanian Cup. And the game against Ripensia, which was really a game that allowed us to make an accurate assessment of what we could do at the time… It was clear that there was a big mental load. There were a lot of negative results and you could feel that in the game. The Rapid game, let’s say it gave us some confidence that it was possible, that there was potential. Of course, a game in the Romanian Cup, which was different in terms of the load compared to the other games. Then things started to improve. There was the game against Șelimbăr, even if the result wasn’t what we wanted, we showed that we have a better organisation of the game compared to the other games. There we can say that if we had got that 11-yard shot in the 90th minute – the foul on Mera – we might have won. Followed by the three games, with Brasov, Steaua and Astra, in which also the results were positive and the game growing.

What changed from the initial situation and basically caused the revival afterwards, we are talking about things at a mental, tactical level, what mattered more?

First of all we managed to regain our confidence and I think that’s an important aspect. The game against Rapid gave us hope that we can do more than we showed in the championship. Then there was the win in Brasov, which we really needed at the time, again it gave us confidence. The game against Steaua proved that. Especially in the second half, when we came back from 0-1 down, we not only won, but managed to have a good half. The Astra game reinforces the confidence we’ve gained, because it was perhaps the best game we’ve played at the end of 2021. Especially coming after a 120-minute game in the Romanian Cup, three days apart… Then I also think that in terms of the organisation of the game things have improved. Defensively we didn’t concede many goals, I’m referring to the games against Rapid, Brasov, Arges, Astra. The offensive game has also improved, especially in the Giurgiu game. This time we controlled, we had possession and many more chances.

You had a very good match against Astra, even on December 4, did this aspect – the Centenary celebration – matter in the preparation of the match?

Of course the Centenary celebration was a motivating factor, we discussed it. In fact, from the beginning of that week it was going to be a very difficult period, we were playing against Steaua, Argeș, Astra, we really needed points. They were difficult games, Steaua is in the play-off zone, Argeș is in the first league, we talked about it. It was a pity that in such an important week we couldn’t contribute with results to match.

Do you personally expect to find yourself at the end of 2021 in this position, coach at Politehnica Timișoara, at an important moment for the club?

Of course I didn’t think so, things have been moving very quickly and, I repeat, I’m glad to be here and at an important moment and to have had a positive end of the year.

You have also talked a lot about the importance of the supporters’ contribution, especially in the home matches against CSA Steaua and FC Argeș, what message are you sending them now on the eve of the holidays?

I would like to wish all Timisoara residents and especially the supporters, who have been with us and helped us at the end of the year, a Happy Holiday and a New Year full of achievements. And I am convinced that with everything we will do in the spring season we will make them be with us even more than before. We thank them for their support at a difficult time for us!

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