Walter Hörmann has a vision - to put the small state of Liechtenstein on the football map, and in particular, the club he coaches, FC Vaduz.
The 41-year-old former Austrian international has done excellent work so far in the main town in Liechtenstein, a principality of 32,000 inhabitants located between Switzerland and Austria. Since taking the helm of FC Vaduz last March, Hörmann has ensured his team's survival in the Swiss second division.
Hörmann, who played 15 times for Austria during a career which saw duty with SK Sturm Graz, FK Austria Wien and SV Austria Salzburg in his native country, as well as FC St. Gallen in Switzerland, is also hopeful that his Vaduz charges can cause a small stir this season on the European scene by reaching the UEFA Cup competition proper.
On the eve of Thursday's UEFA Cup qualifying round second leg against Livingston FC in Scotland, Hörmann spoke to uefa.com about his work in Vaduz, and his ambitions for the future.
uefa.com: Your UEFA Cup home first leg against Livingston ended in a 1-1 draw. That leaves you with a chance in the second leg. Are you optimistic?
Walter Hörmann: I would rather not have conceded a goal. I don't consider it a good result, because we now need to win the second leg. We've got a slight chance and will do all we can to take that chance. If we play to our capabilities, we could cause a surprise in Scotland.
uefa.com: Do you think that there was much difference between yourselves and Livingston in terms of playing qualities?
WH: There was no difference in the first leg. We not only matched Livingston, but also had the better of things in certain ways. But Livingston, who were nervous because it was their first European match, will be much stronger at home. Nevertheless, my team saw that we could compete, and they have to keep this in their minds. We must play to win - I don't want to lose with honour and get angry about the away goals rule. I would rather lose 4-0 if we are going to lose.
uefa.com: For Vaduz, the season started early, because the club plays in the Swiss second division. Was this an advantage in playing Livingston, because the team was at least fit with regard to match preparation?
WH: It was certainly a minor advantage. We weren't able to field our strongest team in our first five or six matches - it's only in the last three matches that we have played our best line-up. Livingston have the same problem, because they have recruited five or six new players who still have to blend in to the team.
uefa.com: When did you begin training for the new season? How long was the period between the end of last season and the start of this season?
WH: We began training at the start of June - our break was three and a half weeks. As the squad was not complete for some time, we didn't have long to work on a concentrated basis. But I don't consider this to be too serious a problem. I consider this to be more of a preparation period. We must work with a purpose and get our main work done in the winter, because we won't be playing football for a lengthy period. In the summer, because of the international matches, we only had two weeks to really recover, and the players would actually need three or four weeks to forget about football.
uefa.com: Given the size of Liechtenstein, does the team comprise only players from the principality, or do you also recruit players from neighbouring Switzerland and Austria?
WH: Liechtenstein is a small country, and the expectations are low, given that there are only 32,000 inhabitants. However, a lot of good work is being done here, and the conditions are good for the few teams that there are. Despite our size, we have numerous young talents. But we can't rely just on players from Liechtenstein, we have to bring players in from our neighbours. FC Vaduz is based in the Rhine Valley, so we have to attract strong young players from the areas between the Swiss cities of Chur and St. Gallen. In addition, we try to recruit the best Liechtenstein players, and thankfully that is what is happening at the moment.
uefa.com: Do the best players in Liechtenstein automatically come to FC Vaduz?
WH: We're not yet that far, and we have to try and work even harder on this aspect within the club. FC Vaduz should become a symbol for Liechtenstein football in the next two or three years, with everyone able to say that the work here is interesting. We will get an artificial turf pitch, and perhaps an additional training ground. We must also work on fostering young players. But I think that FC Vaduz is on the right road.
uefa.com: Are you a tactician or a motivator? Do you prefer plotting strategies for matches?
WH: I am a very emotional coach, and therefore a motivator. I ask for full concentration from everyone. However, I also give full attention to tactical formations. I do work on the opposition, but my own team is more important. If we play to our strengths, we shouldn't have to worry about our opponents. Tactics are important, because when you play at higher levels, the little things are decisive if you want to win.
uefa.com: Do you have a coaching role model?
WH: Ivica Osim, the [SK] Sturm Graz coach, who I consider to be one of the best coaches in Europe, influenced me in my coaching work. I played for two years under him and observed a lot of what he was doing. He is the one coach who really showed me a great deal.
uefa.com: Finally, what are your personal ambitions?
WH: I want to improve every day, and learn something every day. A lot of my free time is taken up with football, and I keep myself in touch by reading all the up-to-date material that I can. I am doing a lot of work that can't be seen from the outside. I want to make FC Vaduz an established club with good structures and a good youth set-up. We are at the start of a long way forward, and the team must improve physically and tactically. It's a long road, but I am confident that one day, FC Vaduz can play in the Swiss top flight.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.