Daniel Stendel: I knew Hearts was the club for me when I heard Tynecastle roar against Aberdeen
Jambos manager is gradually getting his message across
Daniel Stendel heard Tynecastle roar against Aberdeen and instantly knew he made the correct decision joining Hearts.
Ryotaro Meshino's 25-yard strike earned a 1-1 draw in a much-improved performance from the ten-man home team, who had Sean Clare sent off on 68 minutes.
The Gorgie locals responded accordingly and sang Stendel's name in what was the German's fifth game in charge. He was appointed three weeks ago and lost his first four matches.
Despite gaining a point, his team are now five points adrift at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership as a result of Hamilton's win against Motherwell.
Niall McGinn's exquisite free-kick denied him a maiden win, but Stendel was elated hearing fans appreciate his team's energetic and tenacious approach. He now plans to add some fresh signings during January.
"I think what was really important for me was the atmosphere in the stadium," he explained. "I’m concentrated on the game but, when I feel that power from the stands, I know it was the right decision to come to Hearts. I believe that we can improve our players, our squad, before the next time we are back here.
""We know it’s still a very difficult situation for us, we’re still bottom of the table. But, when we play like today, or even how we did for times against Hibs, and we find a goal scorer, we will climb the table. This is what I’m looking forward to next time.
"Especially now we can train more [during the winter break]. You can see that players have wanted to do what we want but have lacked the power to do it for 90 minutes. This is a short break but we will try to have more input in the team, put more power in the team. I’m very positive about the games in the new year."
Stendel admitted he did not hear the Hearts support chant his name. He was more concerned that they responded to the players, who are trying to adjust to the new manager's attack-minded gameplan.
"If I am honest I didn't hear it. It is not so easy when you have a lot of hope and a new manager comes in and for four games you do not win. All I can say is that we will work hard to change our situation. It is not just for me – the biggest point is that they appreciate the performance and the mentality on the pitch.
"They can see they are ready to work. I told the players that if they show that they get so much respect from the stands. I know even when we did not win last week there is so much power at this club and we want to restore this club to their right position in Scottish football.
Stendel made four changes to his side after the 2-0 home defeat by Hibs on Boxing Day, including dropping captain Christophe Berra. "I decided some changes had to be made today," he explained.
"One side of it is I wanted to give Clevid Dikamona a chance to play. I have only this game before we decide what we do in January and the other point is that we need more bravery in our game.
"I can see it sometimes in training and when we want to defend higher and press higher. Christophe has not much time to train because he plays most of the time but, as I said, it is a different game for some players to what has gone before.
"Some players find it easier to adapt in a short time and others need a little more time. I am sure we can improve all the players who stay at Hearts in January."
The Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes conceded his team were below-par without top goalscorer Sam Cosgrove, who was suspended. "Hearts didn’t have it their own way but the story of the game was the two moments of quality, one from Meshino and one from McGinn," he said.
"Thankfully McGinn has done that time and again for me. When we were screaming out for that bit of quality and calmness, Niall was there as he normally is.
"On the balance of play we deserved a point – certainly no more than that. It’s 1-1 draw where I think both teams deserve their point and neither deserve all three.
"We’ve come through two games without our top goalscorer and picked up four points out of six. We’ve not been anywhere near the level I want us to be but we’ve still picked up a point."