Daniel Stendel appeals for Hearts fans' patience and support after defeat by St Johnstone

German needing time to change the Edinburgh club's fortunes

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 5:59 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:00 pm
Daniel Stendel is keen to have as much support from fans as possible as he tries to revive Hearts

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel admitted there is significant work to do to improve the club's fortunes following the 1-0 home defeat by St Johnstone in his first game in charge.

Visiting substitute Callum Hendry headed home unmarked from a corner in the second half to lift the Perth club off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership. Hearts remain joint-bottom alongside Hamilton as their exasperating campaign continues.

Stendel took charge at Riccarton on Tuesday and stated it is not easy to alter players' mindset in a squad lacking confidence. He was unhappy seeing his side playing long balls in the first half and said they did not create enough chances to win.

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"We have a lot of work for next time. We all expected more today," said the German. "I can see the players want to play better but the feeling is it was very difficult to change it today. Especially the calmness in the last third to play, create chances and open spaces.

"We were too nervous, too hectic in some situations. We did not create enough chances to win the game. St Johnstone did not play well but they had three or four big chances. That was so much more than us and that is the reason they won the game.

"I expected it would not be easy. I hoped it would be easier today but I learned we need to work harder.

"We tried to change the players' minds that we can play so much better and you could see it's not so easy to change it. Some players surprised me positively and some players, you can see, need more time to change things."

Stendel appealed for patience and support from fans, whose discontent could be heard around Tynecastle Park at different times during the afternoon.

"I'm really honest. I know the situation is not easy," he continued. "I hoped before the game that fans would give the players more chance to change things. They tried to start the game bravely but very early you have the feeling not all are satisfied with the game or with individual players.

"I was also not satisfied with the game but we can only change things when we work together. We need the support from the stands and we need the fans. In this situation, we need a little bit more patience from the stands. This is the one and only thing the people in the stands can give the players at the moment.

"Every player is working hard to change things and nobody wants to play bad. We all need confidence to work well. I hope we get more support on Wednesday [against Celtic] and that the players can give more back so that we have a good relationship in the future."

Hearts are working towards a more aggressive, attacking style under their new manager and he felt striker Steven MacLean and teenage defender Aaron Hickey are adapting to that approach well.

"You could see Macca understands the game and wants to play but it was difficult for him alone," explained Stendel. "Hickey showed he wanted to do it in the second half and played very offensively.

"He tried to play cross balls and play our game in front - and he is the youngest player on the pitch. That is also a sign for all the rest that the youngest player played with the most bravery.

"Every player can play every style but we need more confidence in everything we do. In the first half, every player was happy that he can play the ball long and safe but this is not what we want to play. I know the players can play better.

"We have a good mentality in the squad so I hope, when some players come back from injury, that we have more quality. We are all disappointed so I hope we can show our other face on Wednesday."