PAULO SERGIO sees his long-term future at Hearts, but the Jambos boss will ask the club’s hierarchy for clarification on the direction they wish to take the club before he commits himself beyond the end of the current season.
The Portuguese coach was tasked with winning titles at Tynecastle when he arrived as the successor to Jim Jefferies in August last year, but now feels majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov and the club’s board must make clear his job remit since plans were put in place to scale back spending on playing staff.
Sergio said: “Right now, I don’t know what the project will be [for next season]. I am very happy working in this big club. We are living with a lot of problems this season but I am working in a very good club and am proud to be at Hearts.
“I’m a fighter, like I’ve said before, and life is not just good things. Sometimes you have to put your neck on the line and do a hard job. It’s an honest job. It’s good to win titles and play in the Champions League, but there are other types of jobs for a manager, like those that are honest, that are serious. If you feel right – the way I feel in this city, this country and at this club – why can I not stay here until next season. But, that depends what we’re going to talk about with the board and everyone.”
Asked when he would like to enter into discussions about the plans that the Hearts board has for the future, Sergio said: “As soon as possible. I don’t want to wait until the end of the season because we should start thinking about the future right now.
“Everybody wants big things for their careers – I’m no different. When I came here, I was thinking about [challenging for titles]. Everybody knows the situation has changed, but it’s an honest job. It’s young boys trying to build something. I’d like to do it, with a solid project and a solid idea, with clarified targets and objectives, not having the feeling that you are here to win games and take your money at the end of the month.
“I need to feel like I’m part of a big thing – it doesn’t matter what that is, whether it’s to win a title, win a cup, or to put some young guys out playing good football and proving we can do it without money. It’s a challenge. But, we need to sit down at the table and make these things very clear.”
Meanwhile, Sergio admitted that, given the choice, he would have held on to recently-departed striker John Sutton, who has joined Central Coast Mariners, the runaway leaders of Australia’s A-League.
“We don’t have another striker with his characteristics – a big guy to put up front at certain times in a game,” said Sergio. “But, it was the club’s decision and John’s decision to move, with the point of view that we save one of the big wages we have here. I have to understand that. The style and the way I want my teams to play, that doesn’t benefit John’s style – that’s true. But, there are moments in the game that we need a player with his characteristics and now we don’t have it.
With transfer restrictions not in effect in countries outside Europe, Sergio admitted it was “possible” that more players could leave. In the meantime, his focus is on progressing to the quarter final stage of the William Hill Scottish Cup by beating St Johnstone at Tynecastle tomorrow.
“It’s a tough game against a good team who are having a good season,” said Sergio. “We respect them a lot. We don’t forget that they have beaten us twice. We know we have to work a lot to win the game and go through in the cup.”
Goalkeeper Marian Kello is doubtful with a back problem, but Sergio was hopeful that the Slovakian would complete a training session earlier today.