Daniel Stendel on Hibs defeat, Hearts' spiralling form and his pre-Christmas trip to Germany
Tynecastle boss laments absence of key strikers but defends personal decision
Daniel Stendel admits Hearts' malaise is worse than he thought after defeat at home to Hibs left the German with four losses from his first four games in charge.
The Edinburgh club remain bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership having won only two of their last 27 league fixtures. Stendel took charge earlier this month and, after Martin Boyle's double secured a comfortable 2-0 win for Hibs at Tynecastle Park, the manager conceded there is a serious lack of belief in his squad.
Asked if the situation is worse than he expected, he said. "Maybe yes. It thought it would be easier to win games. When I see the last four games, okay Celtic were good but in the other games we can win them. But every time is the same, if you don’t score a goal it can be you concede like today.
"We need the belief we can score, this is the biggest thing for our game. It’s difficult to defend higher than most players have played before but this is not the reason. They only had one shot in the second half, we dominated the game but when we don’t score, it’s difficult."
Stendel hopes to add a more clinical edge to his Hearts team once strikers Steven Naismith and Conor Washington are back fully fit after injury. "With Steven Naismith and Conor Washington have two strikers who have proved in the past they can score goals, but at the moment we don’t have those players," he said.
"When you have two important strikers like those two, at the moment the players who play are playing their best but it’s not good enough. Maybe they need more luck and when we score they can become more confident. The one and only thing we can do is work and try to do it better."
The manager returned to Germany last weekend to attend to personal business, which meant he did not take Hearts training in the build-up to the derby. The players were given Christmas Day off but he stressed this was not the reason for the defeat.
"I cannot and would not explain [the reason for going back to Germany], it was agreed long before I signed here," said Stendel. "I want to help and I'm sure I can help this club and Ann Budge. I know it’s a difficult situation but when you see the game it was not the reason we did not win.
"You think it’s the reason we didn’t win today? I think no. When you win you can say anything and it’s all right, when you lose it’s all bad. I take the responsibility for the decisions and I take the responsibility for the game but some things I cannot change.
"I cannot play, I cannot score, I cannot defend. We tried to improve and I think you can see some players are improving and some players maybe not. I hope we can change some things but at the moment we need to work hard and change the result on Sunday [against Aberdeen]. If we play like today I cannot believe that we do not win in the next games."