Per Nilsson Interview: “We're on the right track”

As the night draws in, the lights come on at the 1899 Hoffenheim training centre, with both players and coach alike keen to complete their winter programme. used this opportunity to have a chat with captain Per Nilsson about the new facilities, the friendly victory and the forthcoming games in the Bundesliga.

Per, you spent the Christmas period in your homeland of Sweden. Surely you have to wrap up a bit more there compared to Germany.

No, that's true. It is more pleasant to train when it's a bit warmer. You can't really compare the temperatures here with those in Sweden. Over Christmas it was as low as 20 below zero, and now it is about minus 30.

In the last couple of years the winter break has been spent in La Mange in Spain. How does La Mange compare to Zuzenhausen?

The differences are massive. Here we have the perfect conditions in which to prepare and develop. I think the training pitches are in a great state when it snows. Also the chances to rejuvenate are different. Moreover, we have sufficient time to get to grips with everything and to adapt to the new surroundings.

Since the 3rd January the team have been together day and night in the new training centre. How do you assess this first stage of training?

We've trained really hard and used the time to address the problems from the first half of the season. In particular we need to improve our play when we don't have the ball. I think the game against Kaiserslautern was a sign of the improvements made. It was a step in the right direction. We want to be back where we were last season again.

How do you keep busy outside of training? What else does the training centre offer the players?

When we're not out there training we can use the numerous other facilities on offer such as the Sauna, and hot and cold tubs. Other than that table football is pretty popular with lots of the players. The training centre has more to offer. There's a lounge area in which to watch television or have a chat. The double rooms offer the opportunity to come back from training and have a rest. It's never boring here.

You passed your first test against 1. FC Kaiserslautern. How do you summarise the first friendly of the New Year?

We are pleased with our performance. In the first quarter of an hour we had a few problems and allowed them to counter from our corners. That just can't happen. But we showed that our play off the ball has improved. It was by no means an outstanding performance, but we are content particularly given the difficult training programme in the last few days.

On Saturday you face 1860 München in the final friendly before the Bundesliga resumes. What are you expecting from the game and how important is the win with a view to the Bayern game next week?

The conditions aren't going to be ideal according to the weather forecasts. But it's a really important game for us. We want to get used to winning in order to build up the self-confidence for the Bundesliga. We want to take a positive experience with us when we travel to Munich for the first game back.

And after the game against FC Bayern you face more tough opponents in the form of Leverkusen and Schalke.

Yes, that's exactly right. Everyone can see that we've got a tough schedule ahead of us. But we're on the right track and we've corrected the problems of the last few months. We know what is expected of us and we will prepare as thoroughly as possible. To be thinking ahead to these games now wouldn't be right. We've got to focus on the task in hand, the game on Saturday and then look forward to the clash with Bayern München.

Download Now!
Print Page to top