Partizan Head Coach Miroslav Djukic spoke to media reps ahead of winter break reflecting on season so far.

– We played two games a week mostly and there was a lot of fatigue around. Some games we found really hard to play fatigue-wise and some opponents seemed more fresh compared to us. As for the game process itself – we didn`t reach desired level of team work or possession, we were not dangerous enough…But, there`s lots of space for progress.

Obviously, Partizan needs time.

– But, our results are not bad overall. It might be that Crvena Zvezda didn`t make any mistakes so far. They lost only one game and they have two draws. They achieved those draws against us. It might be that we didn`t play good enough at home as well, we need to fix that. Players need to suck in what they learned so far so that we can play better passing game in the second part of the season.

It might be that Partizan needs fresh blood for the second part of the season.

– Some players will depart, new ones will arrive to strengthen the competition. I“m sure there`ll be plenty of options.

Lately, Djukic criticized Partizan defence.

– When I do, I complain about defensive system. We are a team, when we don“t defend well it`s down to the whole team. We have to advance in that department a lot. We are not Real or Barcelona who can always score four goals, we need to take care not to concede to start with. Therefore, we need to be firm and stable. I`m not displeased with my defence, they were good, they achieved a lot so far.

Djukic on Soumah…

– He will look much better once he fully engage in team preps. He arrived here far from fit and we tried to fix that but he sustained two injuries along the way. He can play so much better and he gradually understands our demands. He arrived from Slovakian league with a mentality that his one good move is enough. Here, he needs to work for the team.

Youngster Danilo Pantic seems to understand what his job is.

– He did and he is a real deal now. I told him against Young Boys their right-back will tear him apart and Pantic did his job and brilliantly assisted to Ozwgovic for our second goal, one that proved a winner. Young Boys right-back was nowhere to be seen in that game while he was one of the best against Dynamo Kyiv. We won Young Boys game without Tosic, Jankovic or Soumah because we played as a team. But, our players rarely finish all the tasks all the way, we simply don`t have enough discipline.

Djukic says it`s all about work.

– I set myself as an example. I achieved something in my career only because I was a hard worker. Many more talented players didn`t achieve close to what I did.

Partizan boss praises his players and believes they`ll look much better after winter preps.

– We have a lovely group of players. We complained about Tosic being sidelined for Young Boys game but we won it as we played as a team. I had trouble convincing Tawamba to help us in defensive duties. He found it hard to understand he has to mark someone as a forward who is marked all the time.

A word on Everton Luiz.

– He is an example a great professional, with enormous playing intensity good enough for any European team. So much energy coming from him, we have to slow him down sometimes. Only that he is too emotional at times and gets into trouble too often.

Is Everton going to stay in Partizan after the winter break?

– We shall see. He is our player now, he is here with us. But, selling players is the only income here and we have to look at it as something normal. Of course, we want Everton to stay but any lucrative offers have to be taken into the account.

Djukic on possible arrivals.

– Rukavina is and interesting player for us but it`s going to be hard getting him here. He is in Villareal although not a starter. Safe player, serious worker, we all know how much he would mean to us. Ivan Obradovic is an interesting playe too, Partizan kid, he actually debuted here in my first spell. But, I don`t know how realistic it is to see him back in Partizan.

Partizan had a busy summer transfer window.

– It was chaotic. We had Djurdjevic for CL qualifiers but waited to sell him. We had soap opera with Leonardo. Then, we signed Soumah, Tosic and Mitrovic, players who didn`t have pre-season with us. I hope we`ll have a proper preps this winter.

After half of the season gone, Djukic has a much clearer picture of his team now.

– Now we know exactly what to expect from each player. I`m not going to experiment, I know what to expect from Everton, Jevtovic or Radin. I know this team inside out now. This winter is going to be far more different than last summer. We talk to management and make lists of players who might move or make the backbone of this team. This will be controlled transfer window.

Are there any interesting players for Partizan coming from Serbian Super League?

– Of course there are! We underestimate SSL a lot, there are lots of good and healthy players around.

Djukic believes Partizan can win the title.

– I do believe in this team, club and fans. We have strength to create title winning conditions. It`s our duty to battle for all the trophies. We proved we can battle with Crvena Zvezda although our roster is smaller, we can close the gap. They have tougher games for opening eight games. All options are there.

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