Having guided FC Dinamo Tbilisi to the double in his first season in charge, Dušan Uhrin Jr now has his sights fixed on steering his team into the group stage of UEFA club competition.
Uhrin Jr. finished second in the Czech and Romanian top flights with FK Mladá Boleslav and FC Timişoara respectively, but immediately enjoyed far greater success in Georgia. Last season was just the start, however, with Tuesday's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg against FC Steaua Bucureşti the next step.
UEFA.com: Congratulations on the great start and the first title of your coaching career ...
Dušan Uhrin Jr: Thank you. I was only second before and when I was moving to Dinamo I felt the time to win had come. It is difficult to achieve and you have to put in a great amount of effort.
UEFA.com: How does it feel to be a champion?
Uhrin Jr: I was happy after achieving the double, but this is already in the past. The president of the club, Roman Pipiya, is doing everything he can to have a successful team. So, we have to work hard, play attacking football and win.
It is widely acknowledged that defending a title is more difficult than winning it; everybody who plays against you is highly motivated. Our aim is to repeat our domestic successes and play in the group stage of a European competition.
UEFA.com: In the second qualifying round you did well by beating EB/Streymur 9-2 on aggregate …
Uhrin Jr: On the one hand our opponents were weak. However, on the other hand, after the first half of the first leg, we were only 2-1 ahead and hadn't played well. It is very good that we scored so many after the break as otherwise it would have been very difficult in the Faroe Islands. Now we are in the third qualifying round and even if we lose to Steaua, we will still have a chance of reaching the UEFA Europa League group stage.
UEFA.com: You know Romanian football very well – what can you tell us about Steaua, a team you never lost to during your time in charge of Timişoara?
Uhrin Jr: They are very strong opponents, they have several Romanian internationals and are very well organised as a team. When I was working in Romania their squad was not that strong. I have played against them four times, winning once and drawing three games. However, there is a great difference between the leagues because in Romania there are five or six teams competing for the title.
UEFA.com: Do you think your Romanian football knowledge gives you an advantage ahead of these matches?
Uhrin Jr: They know me very well as a coach and they know how my teams play. They are confident that they will beat us, but I wouldn't be that quick to jump to any conclusions. I would say our chances are 50-50. It is very important how well we prepare and that we have a good game plan.
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