Florian Kamberi: Hibs boss Jack Ross is reason behind my upturn in form
Striker credits influence of head coach
Florian Kamberi believes the faith new Hibs manager Jack Ross has shown in him has been key to him rediscovering his mojo.
The striker fell out of the starting line-up in the closing months of Paul Heckingbottom’s reign and he explained to the Evening News last month that he felt the Yorkshireman didn’t trust him.
It has been quite the opposite in the early weeks under Ross, who tried to sign Kamberi for Sunderland in summer 2018 and has duly started him in each of his first four matches in charge at Easter Road.
“Since I met him at Sunderland, I knew he was a nice guy and good manager so I was happy when he was appointed here,” said the Swiss-born hitman. “I’ve had a few good chats with him and I know he trusts me on the pitch. Everyone sees this now, that I can play my best football under him.
“I was waiting for him, because he’s a very good manager – and everyone is looking forward to working with him for the next few years.”
Kamberi has generally performed well since returning to the starting line-up, and the striker insists he was always confident things would turn in his favour even during his tough times under Heckingbottom. “I was never worried about myself,” he said. “I knew all the time what qualities I have and what I could bring to the team – if I had the trust of the manager and he gave me a chance.
“If he didn’t give me a chance, I had to accept it. Of course I wasn’t happy, but it’s the manager’s decision, I respected it and accepted it. I was always waiting for my chance and I showed, in the last few games, that I can bring qualities to the team and help us win games.”
In the last two games, however, Hibs have stopped winning games after squandering leads against Kilmarnock and Ross County. The Easter Road side have now failed to triumph from a winning position in seven of their last 11 league games.
“If we had just held on to a couple of leads, if you look at how many points we’ve dropped, we could have been third or fourth,” said Kamberi. “But that’s just talk. Because the fact is we are now sixth. It’s not a bad position but it could be better, for sure. We can’t look at what might have been, we have to look at what the future can bring.
“Losing the late goals, it’s something in the head. It’s not like we’re not fit. But it’s not the first time. We’ve conceded goals in the last few minutes to drop points quite and that is something psychological, something in the head of the players, in my opinion. I think we just need time to work with the manager, to speak with the manger, to earn his trust – and we will get better.”
Kamberi insists the players are eager to dispel the notion that collectively they have a soft mentality. “It’s never nice to have that,” he said. “To get criticised is never nice, but the only answer is to accept it – and try to do better next time. Everyone here has to question himself, ask if he’s doing enough for the team. All the other stuff, it comes with hard work and patience.”
Florian Kamberi was speaking as Hibernian launched the sale of their half season tickets, with details available on the club website.