Coach Krunoslav Jurčić has "banned" his players from talking about the other game in Group A with a win against FC Timişoara the only result that could give NK Dinamo Zagreb a place in the round of 32.
Article top media content
Krunoslav Jurčić has "banned" his players from talking about the other game in UEFA Europa League Group A with a win against FC Timişoara the only result that could give NK Dinamo Zagreb a place in the last 32.
The Croatian champions can take second place in their section with a win at home against eliminated Timişoara, but only if section leaders AFC Ajax beat RSC Anderlecht in Amsterdam. Jurčić's side beat the Romanian side 3-0 away on Matchday 2, but the coach said: "It won't be easy in Zagreb. They are doing well in their domestic championship – I don't think they had lost an away match there until the weekend. And I have banned my players from talking about the match between Ajax and Anderlecht."
Cruising at home
Timişoara's unbeaten away run in Liga 1 ended with a 1-0 loss at FC Braşov on Sunday, but Dinamo are cruising in Croatia, where they beat NK Medimurje 4-1 on their travels in their final league game of the winter on 6 December. On course to win a fourth successive domestic double, reaching the round of 32 would be the icing on the cake for the 40-year-old Jurčić, a one-time Dinamo trainee midfielder who took over as the club's coach in March this year.
'We are a success'
"Yes, we are a success now," he said. "Of course we are. We are six points ahead of Cibalia and Šibenik in the Croatian table and have eleven points more than our biggest rivals Hajduk; we have reached the Croatian Cup semi-finals and we have a good chance to finally survive a winter in European competition. Even if we don't do that, we will improve our UEFA ranking and eventually get easier opponents in European competition, and maybe play one less qualifying round."
Everything in his garden is rosy, but for the fact that his side missed out on the UEFA Champions League, losing 3-2 to FC Salzburg in the third qualifying round. "I'm proud I steadied the team and helped calm some tensions at the club," said Jurčić. "It's great that we have achieved our goals so far. Except for the Champions League. That was my dream; too bad that we filled some positions too late. That match against Salzburg still hurts. We were the better side; we should have gone through."