Zoran Zeljković knows where his new club’s biggest problem is: “Olimpija currently has the second worst defence in the league”
Source of photo: NK Olimpija Ljubljana
Still on Monday Olimpija didn’t know who its new coach would be, but on Thursday Zoran Zeljković appeared in front of the press. The previous coach of Koper signed a two-year contract with Zmaji, with an option to extend it for another 12 months, and – clearly – got to work immediately. There are a lot of these, but Zoran Zeljković admitted during the meeting that the first thing to do is to stabilise the team and improve the defence.
“I was convinced by the name. I am an Olimpija child. A Ljubljana resident. Olympia doesn’t call every day. I am proud that this has happened. But as a coach, I also have my own requirements. Fortunately, everything worked out and I’m really proud to be the coach of Olimpija. When I was a kid, my first transfer was from Šmartno to Olimpija. At that time, I dreamt of playing for Olimpija, and luckily it came true. As a coach, you also dream of a big club. We know what Olimpija is, and that made my dream come true,” said Zoran Zeljković at the opening press conference in Stožice.
The expert, who managed Krka before Koper, admitted that the Conference League was one of the reasons for the move. ”Without a shadow of a doubt. You don’t often have the opportunity to coach in a conference league. I don’t want to think two games ahead. You know what it’s like to be an Olimpija coach – every game is important and you have to win every game. We have a tough away game in Domžale. We have some problems and now I have to think about this match first and foremost.”
Zoran Zeljković: “I want us to play differently”
Zoran Zeljković sees “certain problems” as mainly weaknesses in the defence, which will be weakened in the future – Matevž Vidovšek will spend some time on the sidelines. “My first move will be to stabilise the team. We know very well that Olimpija is conceding too many goals. We need to fix these things. On Friday, we will count. We have the broadest staff in Slovenia. I know some of the players really well, but I need to know them even better. The view from the outside is different from the view from the inside. I noticed, as always when a new coach comes in, that the energy is a bit better. This is the basis for great results. I believe Olimpija can play better and we will do everything to make it so,” said the former footballer.
Zoran Zeljković, 43, continued. ”Olimpija currently has the second worst defence in the league. It does not seem to me that it does, if you understand what I am saying. It can be much better. This is the basis that we need to fix. It’s normal to want to score fewer goals. My philosophy is that defence brings laurels, but on the other hand attack also brings victories. Olimpija must be good in all segments. But we cannot allow ourselves to score two or three goals every game. I want us to play differently. Especially in Europe. When will we have to be, as we call it, pragmatic? But Olimpija will always be attacking and attractive. And it will win laurels.”
Regarding recruitment in the coming years, Zoran Zeljković believes that he will cooperate with the club’ s management in an exemplary manner, and he would like to see more Slovenian players, although he is aware that they are hard to come by: “It is normal that the club management has to work together with the coach. If the management doesn’t see certain players I want, I expect the same from my superiors. We can only do great things together. That makes sense. Personally, of course, I would like to see as many Slovenian players as possible. But you should know that there are not many of us, and most of the good players have contracts. Each club has its own budget. We will certainly expand Scouting. But it’s not easy to get a foothold at Olimpija. Just like it’s not the same to be coach of Olimpija or Koper. If we are talking about a young player, we need to get one who has already made a difference in the Slovenian league.”
This text was automatically translated using AI.