Christophe Berra: Hearts need a big lift from new boss

Skipper admits that performances have to improve

Saturday, 7th December 2019, 6:00 am
Christophe Berra has been given manager hints by Ann Budge

Hearts skipper Christophe Berra admits they need a “big lift” that a new manager would provide.

But he warned his team-mates an appointment will be no magic bullet and they have to work harder and improve performances.

Austin MacPhee will take interim charge for a sixth game when Hearts travel to Motherwell today without the injured Steven Naismith.

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A late equaliser against Livingston at Tynecastle on Wednesday failed to spare the players from the frustrations of supporters, who are keen for owner Ann Budge to finalise a move for Daniel Stendel.

But with Barnsley seeking compensation for the manager they removed from his post two months ago, Berra has called for his team-mates to focus on getting better themselves.

Berra said: “Obviously we read the press and hear rumours. Don’t get us wrong, we are like anyone, there is frustration but our job is to turn up every day in training and do what Austin wants us to do and win games. And that’s the biggest frustration, we have not been winning games.

“I’m sure it will give us a big lift when someone does come in. We do need it, there is no doubt about that, I think everyone can see it.

“But our focus is to win games and that starts again at Motherwell.”

The defender added: “Let’s be honest, this separates the men from the boys. Some of the guys will need to stand up and be counted.

“It’s not an easy circumstance, fans are getting frustrated for obvious reasons. On Wednesday there were jeers, moans and groans, but you need to be thick-skinned. If you can’t take it, you won’t last in this game. We should be doing a lot better than we are.”

Hearts are only a point off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership and Berra accepts they are in a battle.

“We are not naive,” he said. “Okay, on paper we have good players, but at the minute we are not a good team. Let’s be honest, the points show that. We need a big improvement and we need to gel as a team.

“There are a lot of games left to play but the games get less and less so we need to make sure we are on it. We are in for a fight, no matter what. Teams are better prepared in this day and age and the league overall is difficult.”

The 34-year has been kept updated on the recruitment process but does not feel all players need to know everything.

“Ann came in the other day and had a word with me, I know the situation and the players are briefly aware of it as well,” he said. “But sometimes if you give players too much information, it’s not good.

“You just need to worry about what you need to do on the training field and take care of yourself and first of all get your head right.

“If you are not having a great day, people say run about and put tackles in. We need more of that and when someone comes in hopefully it does give us the boost we need. But don’t think it’s just going to change like that. It’s going to be a lot of hard work and people need to realise that. Things will change as well and if people don’t come along, they will drift by the wayside.”

Hearts are still waiting on a full diagnosis of Naismith’s latest hamstring problem.

“He got a bang in the challenge with Marvin Bartley and then, when he went to control the ball, felt something in his hamstring,” MacPhee said.

“We are still waiting for the results but we hope at worst it is a grade one and maybe more neural. He shouldn’t be out too long but he will miss the

Motherwell game.”