Five points clear at the head of the Danish Super League, FC Midtjylland find themselves in uncharted territory and coach Glen Riddersholm is treading cautiously, saying: "There are several aspects of our game that must improve."
Having wriggled free of the relegation noose last season, Midtjylland have strode to the summit unbeaten, winning six of their first eleven fixtures including an eye-catching 5-2 defeat of Brøndby IF. Riddersholm, who took over the reins from Allan Kuhn in 2011, attributes his side's upturn in fortunes to a learning process that is finally bearing fruit.
"The word 'process' tends to be a negative one in Danish football, because so many teams in desperate need of points claim to be in one," he told UEFA.com. "However, we have been in a process for a long time, with lots of young players unfamiliar with first-team football being introduced to new things. We have the youngest squad in the league with an average age of 21.7 years and many of our players were used to winning championships as youngsters.
"We battled relegation last term after finishing third in my first season and that experience has allowed the players to mature," added the 41-year-old, who pays meticulous attention to player development and support. "We have made some changes tactically and intensified the physical aspect of our game. We strive to nurture our players, with an emphasis on communication. If a player becomes a father for the first time, for example, we want to be there to help them. Players cannot handle everything on their own."
The general consensus in Denmark is that Midtjylland are firm favourites to scoop their maiden league championship, but Riddersholm is taking everything in his stride. "With the form we are in, there's extra pressure but we're used to that in football – where you have to present your annual accounts every weekend. We remain level-headed and although we have performed better than we expected, we do not see ourselves as a top team," he explained.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.