Steegmann: We’ll Come Back Stronger Next Season
As the curtain drew to a close on another Bundesliga season on Saturday, Austria Wien were left to reflect on what could have been as a 3-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg saw Die Vielchen miss out on the chance to win a first Bundesliga title since 2013 as Salzburg went on to claim the crown for the seventh year in a row. However for manager Christopher Steegmann and his playing squad this season has been one of a huge strides as Die Vielchen finally mounted a sustained title challenge without any major dips in form and pushed the eventual Champions all the way till the end of the season. In his final interview with fk-austria.at of the season, Steegmann claims that his side will be back and better than ever when the new campaign kicks off in July.
Christopher thank you for joining us one last time this season, how are you feeling after that defeat to Salzburg on Saturday and what must be a disappointing end to the season for you?
You’re welcome. I’m absolutely gutted I won’t lie. It was a real bitter pill to swallow. We were so confident heading into the tie that we could get the result that we were craving, and we were so determined to show an improvement on our last trip to the Red Bull Arena but we just didn’t get the share of the luck we wanted and they picked us off when we couldn’t get the ball to hit the back of the net. It was a really disappointing end to what was a really good and enjoyable season where we did really well.
You came so close to breaking Salzburg’s grip on the Bundesliga crown, however you must be really proud of your players and the coaching staff at being able to run Salzburg so close?
Oh absolutely, I’m so incredibly proud of my players and this club. We did extremely well this season to start the way we did where we were a little off the pace, to then pick up momentum and really push for the league title. We ran Salzburg right down to the last game of the season and could, on another day, have picked up the title because on another day some of the chances we missed would have gone in and we would be sitting here now as league champions. It’s tough to accept that we’ve lost the game and conceded the title but we’ve got a lot to be proud of this year, the progress we’ve made has been amazing and I can guarantee we’ll come back stronger next season.
What does next season have in store for Die Vielchen and it’s fans in the Bundesliga anyway? Can we and shall we expect another push at the title or is it too soon to say?
Like I said, we’ll come back stronger next season with some new additions and a revitalised playing squad. We want to continue improving and the next step of that improvement is to go on and win the league title now and really push Salzburg all the way. That is the step we want to make next season too and we’re desperate to have a real go at winning the Bundesliga title.
You have obviously secured qualification for the Champions League once more, meaning you will enter the competition in the Third Qualifying Round for the second consecutive season, are you confident of being able to progress further this time around?
Qualifying for the Champions League again is a big achievement for this club and for the fans because the team has struggled to do it consistently for a little while so to be back in the competition, even if it is only the preliminary stages is a big achievement for the club and I’m really excited for another shot at the tournament. We ran Zenit really close last season and I’m even more confident that we can run whoever we get closer and qualify for the final round of Qualifying and then hopefully push on and qualify for the Group Stages because that’s where every team aspires to be.
You enjoyed a memorable European campaign this season, reaching the last 16 of the Europa League, does that campaign, and victories like the wins over Fiorentina, Basel and Olympiakos fill you with confidence at being able to have another successful European campaign next season?
Those results definitely help make us feel more confident because they were great results for this club and for this team. To have been out of Europe for the previous season and to then go and beat the likes of Basel comfortable and Olympiakos the way we did was brilliant to watch and be a part of, for both us and the fans. We then ran Fiorentina a top team from one of the top leagues in Europe very close to a place in the Quarter Finals which would have been an extraordinary achievement for us so we’ve got a lot to be proud of from our last European campaign so I know we can go on and have another enjoyable run this season.
Back to domestic football, your side were dumped out of the OFB-Cup by SV Ried in the second round, what are you going to do to make sure that a cup upset doesn’t happen again next season?
That result against Ried was a very tough one to take. Having reached the Semi Finals last season and fallen short the way we did in that game against Sturm Graz we really wanted to make amends for it this season and try and win the competition but to lose to Ried on penalties, having dominated the tie, creating so many chances was a horrible feeling and it is one I never want to repeat. We were very respectful to the competition, we named a strong team, one that was definitely capable of winning that game, but it just wasn’t to be and we have to make sure we’re more clinical next season and take the chances we’re taking, especially in knockout competitions like the OFB-Cup.
The fans are desperate for you to win silverware now having seen the progress your side have made, do you think you can get that trophy by winning the OFB-Cup next season? It’s been a long time since Austria Wien have had their hands on it!
Yeah absolutely I think we can win the competition. It is a huge part of our season and I can guarantee the fans that it is a huge part of our aspirations. We want to win silverware as much as the fans do and that competition would be a prestigious tournament to win and we hope we can make a better impression in the tournament in the new season.
Last summer saw four players arrive, and no more new recruits were added in the January transfer window, what will this summer have in store for you and Die Vielchen?
We’re going to add to this squad because we’re going to come back fresh and really challenge next season. We need to improve this squad and push the players who are still here and those who come in to the best they can be if we are to really challenge next season. However we will only add players that we feel will benefit this club and the team and contribute to the way we want to play football rather than just spending money for the sakes of spending it and bringing players in that aren’t right for this system.
Has a list of players already been drawn up and do you have any ideas of where you’re going to be looking at improving the squad and can you offer us any cheeky insights?
There is a list of players we are looking at and we’ve identified areas in the squad that we want to improve on already and have done for quite a long time now because that’s just the way we want to work at this club. The scouting department have worked tirelessly to get us in a position where we can now pick the players we want to sign and make offers but unfortunately we’re not going to be giving away any insights here today.
Well thank you for joining us Christopher, enjoy your summer break and we look forward to seeing you next season!
Thank you very much, see you next season.
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