Having started his first national team job at the beginning of the month, Pavel Vrba has outlined the philosophy he wants to adopt with the Czech Republic as he targets qualification for UEFA EURO 2016.
Vrba left FC Vikoria Plzeň at the end of 2013 following five fruitful years in which he transformed their fortunes, winning two Czech First League titles – the first in their history – one domestic cup and participating twice in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Last season Vrba guided the Bohemian club to the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
Speaking about the style he would like to employ, the 50-year-old said: "I want the national side to play as Plzeň did, to copy their successful attacking football in some way. The Czech league has seen a recent boom in attacking styles that prevail over defensive. I want to capitalise on this trend. That said, a successful coach is the one with successful results."
After the Czechs' failure to qualify for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup – they finished third in Group B, seven points behind section winners Italy – Vrba's task is clear: to reach the next UEFA European Championship, the qualifying draw for which takes place on 23 February.
Vrba was the unanimous choice to succeed Michal Bílek, who resigned in September, given the glowing reputation he established at Plzeň – one that earned him the moniker of the Czech Republic's 'Special One'. "My great advantage is that I have trained teams at all age categories: I started with the smallest footballers and gradually went up to senior level," explained Vrba when asked about the secret of his coaching success.
"I learned a lot with young players as I had time to go through all the critical situations that coaching brings up. Maybe I am much better prepared than those who start straight away with senior squads."
Vrba launched his career in the dugout in the early 1990s with home-town team FC Přerov and subsequently FC Baník Ostrava, where he learned from Verner Lička, who "applied new methods of training for the youth teams". Departing from Baník in 2004, Vrba had a spell at FK Púchov, moving on to MŠK Žilina in 2006 where he claimed the Slovak championship in his first campaign.
To help him in his new post he has turned to Karel Brückner, the man who steered the Czech Republic to the UEFA EURO 2004 semi-finals, with the offer of a consultant's role. "In my opinion, the best Czech coach was Mr Brückner – I tried to learn as much as possible from him," said Vrba.
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