Craig Levein: This is the ‘most frustrating spell of my career’

Hearts manager Craig Levein speaks to the press at the Oriam ahead of his side's match with Motherwell. Picture: SNS Group
Hearts manager Craig Levein speaks to the press at the Oriam ahead of his side's match with Motherwell. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts manager Craig Levein claims he is in the most frustrating spell of his career.

Levein’s side have not won in six matches with their return to Tynecastle not proving triumphant so far.

Hearts have drawn all three home games since their new main stand’s delayed opening following safety concerns, and have only netted 14 goals in 16 Ladbrokes Premiership games.

Levein endured bitter disappointment with Hearts as a player when they lost the title and Scottish Cup final in the space of seven days in 1986 and was on the end of criticism during his time as Scotland boss.

But the 53-year-old said his second stint as Hearts boss has proved even more difficult than anticipated.

“It has been the most frustrating period of my footballing career, in all honesty,” he said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Motherwell.

“We work extremely hard, that’s what all the data is telling us as well, and things aren’t going our way. But my view on this is always keep going, keep doing what you’re doing, keep working hard.

“If you look at our stats, we need to score more goals. I don’t think our defending is a huge problem, we are restricting teams to very few chances. We just aren’t creating enough.

“And, again, there have been reasons for that. We have had players out who are important in creating chances. But that’s the area we do need to improve.”

The Hearts director of football reverted to his former role as manager after accepting the Ian Cathro experiment could not continue days before the season started.

“I did feel we needed some stability, we needed somebody who had been over the course before and can understand what can happen when you are in a situation when players are lacking a bit of confidence,” he said.

“There isn’t a second of this I thought was going to be easy, it’s never been easy, or everybody would be doing it. I understood that, it’s just been more frustrating than I thought it would be.”

When asked what was the nub of his frustration, he said: “Not winning matches. We aren’t creating enough chances but, the Ross County game two weeks ago, we created a load of chances and didn’t take them.

“I’m hopeful things will improve in January when we have the opportunity to rejig some of the squad, which I think will help for sure. We have got an imbalance, which I have spoken about regularly.

“In the meantime, we will do the same again on Saturday and try our hardest to win the game.”

Levein could endure more frustration before kick-off with key attacking midfielders Arnaud Djoum and Jamie Walker both struggling through injury.

He added: “We’re in a situation just now where we are having to work really hard to get anything from matches, and it does seem that one or two things go against you when that is the case.

“But there’s a definite determination that will see us through this sticky period.”