Nagy: “We are not content with only being here”Article
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INTERVIEW: Retiring as a player at the end of the season, László Nagy has one more chance to help Veszprém win the VELUX EHF Champions League

Nagy: “We are not content with only being here”

The icon of Telekom Veszprém HC, László Nagy, has seen everything in handball. The Hungarian record champion’s core in defence has announced his retirement at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old right back would sweeten his long and successful career if Veszprém could lift the trophy at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. It was a long trip for Veszprém to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4. What was the turning point in the season?

László Nagy: During the autumn, the new head coach arrived with a new philosophy and with different training methods. Both in attack and defence we have adapted David Davis’ vision, although the basics of Spanish handball were known for most of us. Only our newcomers needed some extra time to get familiar with the system. Well, finally I can say that all of these and the hundreds of hours that we spent on watching footages of our and other teams’ matches paid off. What do you think about the current coach, David Davis?

László Nagy: I got to know him when I played for Barcelona. We have played against each other and I saw for the first time that he is such a nice person and focused all the time. He is an always and well-prepared expert. We have talked a lot in the past days and he spends uncountable hours on getting ready or even only on planning our trainings. Although he has never been a head coach at any men’s club, here in Veszprém everybody is satisfied with his work. As Davis is relatively young, creating connections, bonds with the players was easy for him as well as for us. What is your side’s biggest strength?

László Nagy: We work together as a team and we are all heading in the same direction. Everybody knows what to do for success. We share the pressure and the most important is that the chemistry is great and balanced. Our squad is amazing in playing defence. As I learnt it during my career, this is the key most of the time. With a diamond-tough defence, we can run and have more fast-break situations. Our plan is to rely on what we are good at and make the best decisions in any situation. After a one-year hiatus, you return to Cologne…

László Nagy: The EHF FINAL4 is the highest-ranked event in the world’s club competitions. It is a pleasure to be there and it feels magical to be among our planet’s top-four teams. However, we are not content with only being here. We would like to achieve something huge. My favourite and sweetest memory from Cologne is when almost the whole arena was red as plenty of our fans were in Germany. Telekom Veszprém HC face PGE Vive Kielce in the first semi-final. What can be the key of your success?

László Nagy: Our defence needs to work properly. On the other side of the court, our centre backs and wings could make the difference. They need to find the rhythm. Overall, as few mistakes as possible and efficiency is crucial in order to conquer Europe. I would also say that we need to find the weak spots of Kielce, however a team that was able to beat PSG by 10 does not have too many. As you have experienced the VELUX EHF FINAL4 a few times, what is the most important during these two days?

László Nagy: You need to be balanced and refreshed as much as possible. Both sides will play two matches in 24 hours. There are a lot of games both with the club and the national team during a season. Sadly, it can be seen on the second day of this final weekend as the quality of the matches is sometimes not high class. Everybody wants to avoid injuries but the will is sometimes stronger than the mind. I would also prefer to play the semi-finals on Friday with the bronze-medal match and the final on Sunday. Having won the EHF Champions League two times, many Hungarian and Spanish League titles and cup trophies, you will retire at the end of this season. What led you to the final decision?

László Nagy: I have had the idea since October. Now, as we have reached the EHF FINAL4, it can be a great end of my long career. However, I cannot and I do not want to break up with handball. I will help Veszprém and the domestic developments off the court as well. What is the next challenge?

László Nagy: I will be responsible for men’s handball in the Hungarian Handball Federation, which is a unique opportunity. The whole organisation knows that this is going to be a long process. Our goal is to have a national squad that could fight for medals at each international tournament. Of course, the EHF EURO 2022 is a little bit more important as Hungary and Slovakia will host the event. I would like to share my experiences. If these little pieces find their way, I will be happy. Where do you see Hungarian men’s handball?

László Nagy: There are many talented youngsters. It is essential that they need to be strong mentally. Most of them showed the potential already. I hope that Roland Mikler and Máté Lékai, the icons of the national team, will play at the EHF EURO 2022 and lead the side. We count on many players, such as Bence Bánhídi, Richárd Bodó, Zsolt Balogh, Patrik Ligetvári, Ádám Juhász, Zoltán Szita and a lot of others who can help raise the level again. 

TEXT: Bela Müller / ew