Hatalčík back for more with PrešovArticle
«Go back

Tatran coach returns for his fourth spell in charge of the club

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Hatalčík back for more with Prešov

Peter Hatalčík was one of the key figures in Tatran Prešov back in 2004, when they reached the Last 16 of the EHF Champions League, only to be eliminated by THW Kiel.

Nine years later, Hatalčík is back at the club and spoke to ehfCL.com about his vision for the upcoming months.

“I came to a place I know well. There is a big challenge ahead to achieve the goals we have set ourselves.

“Both me and players need some time for our ideas to become reality. I am coming back to Tatran for the fourth time as a coach, full of optimism and enthusiasm,” said Hatalčík.

Rocky start

Prešov participated in a summer tournament in Kielce last week and despite finishing last, Hatalčík was satisfied with the performance of the team.

After two close defeats to Göppingen and Brest, a last minute draw against the third best club in Europe Vive Targi Kielce is a good sign for the rest of pre-season. 

New fresh faces have added additional strength to a team, with Polish line player Damian Krzysztofik and Slovakian international Patrik Hruščák making debuts for Tatran, while another new signing, Ukrainian Vjačeslav Sadovyij, was unavailable because of international commitments.

Before taking on Kielce challenge, club management organised a week-long training camp on the island of Krk, in Croatia.

An unusual place for handball, but excellent for team building and hard work combined with good regeneration and some fun, unless you step on a sea urchin during the first day, as left back Dominik Krok would add.

“We had a very useful training camp in Croatia. I spotted some players had to work harder on their physical fitness.

“We were training three times a day, concentrated on different aspects of physical fitness. The matches against strong opponents in Kielce were useful, they showed us potential and we learned our lessons from these games.

“However, the players feel bit tired, we need to come up with a week of regeneration and rest in order to refuel.

“Time is our biggest enemy. We have still lot of work ahead of us,” Peter Hatalčík said, reflecting on his first weeks in charge.

Respected coach

With international experience from Kuwait, he guided the Slovakian national team to their first major tournament in 2006, the EHF EURO in Switzerland.

Hatalčík is recognised as one of the most respected coaches in Slovakia. Known for his strict and punctual approach, players must know exactly where the boundaries are.

The former Prešov player has his own recipe for success.

“One of our first tasks is to improve in defence. From what I have seen of Prešov before my arrival, the defence was chaotic.

“It is, however, long term process. Young, talented players prefer attack, but the best handball players these days can play as well in defence as in attack. We need to teach young players to think this way and that is the challenge in the preparation period for us, pay attention to defending skills and build up strong defence,“ said the 59-year-old.

Group stage dream

Prešov will face Besiktas JK in their semi-final in group 2 of VELUX EHF Champions League qualification at home on 31 August, with Dinamo Minsk taking on A.E.K Athens in the other semi-final in Tatran Handball Arena.

Peter Hatalčík’s men will try to make the most of the home advantage and fulfil their main target - qualification for the Group Phase, after failing to do so in last three attempts.

“Everyone is talking about Dinamo Minsk, but we have to beat Besiktas JK first. They are not an easy opponent.

“We will see them playing, they have quality. Playing at home has always two aspects. It is advantage in some terms, but at the same time the pressure is bigger. The most important moment of the season comes directly in the beginning.

“For us it is a big dream to play in the group phase of the Champions League and we are preparing for the new season in this matter, to be successful right from the start,” concluded Hatalčík.

Tatran Prešov pre-season results:

Kielce (Poland)

1 August: Göppingen vs Tatran Prešov 34:32 (16:13)
2 August Brest vs Tatran Prešov 30:27 (15:14)
3 August: Kielce vs Tatran Prešov 34:34 (18:15)

Prešov (Slovakia)

6 August: Tatran Prešov vs Motor Zaporozhye 36:35
7 August: Tatran Prešov vs Motor Zaporozhye 31:32

Photo credit: Anna Benicewicz-Miazga (KS Vive Targi Kielce) 

TEXT: Tomáš Čunčík / cor