Hearts victory against Motherwell has ‘eased the pressure on us’

Christophe Berra admits Friday’s Betfred Cup victory at Motherwell has eased the tension around Hearts after an unconvincing start to the season.

Players and management were heavily criticised after taking just one point from their opening two league matches, but the mood has improved significantly in recent days.

“I’ve been playing football for 16 years and it never changes,” said captain Berra. “It can be all doom and gloom one week and euphoric the next depending on the result. You’ve just got to be thick-skinned when it’s not going so well, keep trying to do the right things and hope it turns. We know there’s an expectation from the the supporters, but the pressure doesn’t just come from the fans, we put pressure on ourselves. We want to be in those European places and we know we need to do a lot better in the league.

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“Against Aberdeen, we didn’t play particularly badly. We were 2-1 up then had a man sent off and we probably didn’t manage the close stages of the game well enough. But Ross County was well below par and we took a lot of well-deserved criticism because we scraped a 0-0 that day and didn’t play anywhere near our potential. I’m not going to get carried away after Friday but the performance showed what we’re capable of.”