Lajos Mocsai: Under pressureArticle
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MKB Veszprem coach rates the high-tensioned situation in his Group and the chances of his team against Madrid.

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Lajos Mocsai: Under pressure

Lajos Mocsai is one of the most experienced coaches in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

But before the final Round of the Group Stage his team MKB Veszprem is under pressure after four defeats in the last five matches. Despite the tough challenge against Group winner Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the Hungarian is confident of reaching the Last 16.

If Veszprem lose, Berlin win and Kielce tie with Medvedi, the Hungarians would be eliminated.  However, if they win they are through, and in the situation of a draw then it would depend on the other results because Veszprem lost the direct encounter against both Berlin and Medvedi but won the game against Kielce.

Before the last Round, Veszprem and Kielce have ten points on their record, Berlin and Medvedi both have nine points. MKB Veszprem missed two 'match points’ in an effort to reach the Last 16. What happened to your team when they lost against Kielce and Chekhovskie Medvedi?

Lajos Mocsai: Our Group is absolutely equal except that Atletico Madrid are clearly dominant and Bjerringbro are out of the race.

The other four teams can win or lose against any of those opponents, no matter if you play at home or away. It is all a matter of the daily form.

Medvedi is identical with the Russian national team and Kielce have a huge number of international top stars in their squad, so those results were no surprise to me.

Of course we don't like to lose, and I was angry about those defeats, but we still have the chance to correct everything. In your final Group match Veszprem face Atletico Madrid – is it an advantage for your team that the Spaniards have already won this Group?

Lajos Mocsai: Of course we are under pressure against Madrid. They have more than ten world-class players in their squad and on nearly every position they can chose between three top stars, so Talant Dushebajew has the possibility to rotate a lot without losing quality.

I don't know if it is an advantage that Madrid are already the Group winner because I believe they want to win every match. So we have to give our all to take the points. After the EHF EURO in Serbia the performance of your team has not been perfect. Is the endurance of the EHF EURO one reason for these defeats?

Lajos Mocsai: Yes, this is correct. We did not find our rhythm after the EHF EURO. Two thirds of our players were in Serbia for their national teams, and we had two important games right after the end of the tournament, so we could not prepare the right way.

And for the VELUX EHF Champions League you need to prepare absolutely precisel, you always have to be aware. In addition, some of our players like Ivancsik, Laluszka and Tersic had been injured or are currently injured. Despite these problems – are Veszprem the favourites on Saturday?

Lajos Mocsai: This will be a matter of our fighting spirit and our attitude. We want to give a good account on ourselves, but we know that it will be a tough game. Everything is possible for MKB Veszprem as they went from rank two in your Group all the way to the elimination before the knock-out stage – did you expect such a close race?

Lajos Mocsai: Unfortunately we never had any luck at draws in the previous and the current season – we were really unlucky. For the world of handball and especially the fans, this Group and this situation before the final round is absolutely fantastic and full of tension. Do you rate your Group as the toughest of all?

Lajos Mocsai: Yes, I think so. As I mentioned, everything is possible in our Group. How do see your chances - concerning the current situation – to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the first time?

Lajos Mocsai: In my opinion, Veszprem and up to 12 more teams want to reach Cologne as their final destination. We hope we belong to this elite, but it is getting more intense from season to season to reach this objective. Maybe we'll have more luck in the upcoming draws this year.

TEXT: Björn Pazen