Can in an interview: “As an outsider, I could say that about us too”

After the first six months of the season, Emre Can is not happy with either the team’s performance or his own record. The 29-year-old talks about defensive issues, resilience, public criticism, his role in the dressing room and his anger at his position in Germany.

Mr Can, BVB had an unsatisfactory first half of the season. Does it still resonate or did the time difference with the last game help?

It is not forgotten, but processed. At first it was good to be disappointed, but you have to leave that in the past at some point. It is important that we learn from this and recognize what was wrong. We know ourselves that we haven’t had a good season in the Bundesliga so far. We absolutely want to perform better, play better football consistently, achieve ever better results. And I’m confident when I see how the team worked in training camp.

What are these specific lessons? What are the most important starting points for preparation?

For example, this pressing only works together and with high intensity and difficult duels. Or the attacking standards, from which we scored far too few goals. Overall, we need to score more goals and concede less. We have a lot to do in all these areas.

Are the defensive problems in the second half of the season so far a holistic problem that starts with pressing and counter-pressing?

When you concede goals, it’s never just defense. The whole team is always responsible, it starts at the beginning. If we don’t press and hold ourselves properly, if we don’t have the right intensity, it becomes difficult. And, to be honest, that has often been lacking in the first part of the season, especially in the Bundesliga. We saw that we could do it, for example during the two matches against Manchester City in the Champions League. We just need to call him constantly.

Can you train intensity like standard situations, for example?

You need to lay the foundation for it, so that you are fit and able to walk. But whether it works 100% on the pitch depends on each player. If everyone isn’t successful on the pitch, the team doesn’t stand a chance.

It plays a big role if the number of strokes is high during training, doesn’t it?

In all cases. It helps that players who have been injured for a long time are back and there is more competition again. It motivates every player, it’s very important to us. The way you train and work is always reflected in the game.

In too many games, individual players have slacked off and won less. It just doesn’t work.

Often, the topic of lack of mentality or resilience in the face of setbacks comes up. Do you understand this criticism?

As a foreigner, I could say the same of us. But as a team player, I don’t think mentality is a problem. We just have to learn to call on those virtues in really every game. In too many games, individual players have slacked off and won less. It just doesn’t work. If all eleven players aren’t ready to march and defend, you can’t win as a team. You have to understand that, whether it’s a defender, a goalkeeper or an attacker.

This is also nothing new at Dortmund. You have been at BVB for three years and you have known the discussions for just as long.

It is true, and unfortunately it is the truth. Why is it? If we knew this easily, we would have left it behind long ago. But believe me, we try to do this as a team and we work hard at it, even if it doesn’t always look like it. We try our best to not just play well every three games, but whenever possible.

I can do a lot more, I know that.

In your personal record, there is only one appearance in the Bundesliga in 90 minutes, out of 17 games, you only stayed on the pitch for more than 30 minutes out of ten. Doesn’t look like a satisfying first half of the season, does it?

Not at all, not at all. It was not easy. I came back from vacation with an injury and felt like I was late all the time afterwards. And so I didn’t play as much as I hoped. In recent years, I have almost always played when I was fit. That’s why the season so far hasn’t been satisfying for me at all. I want to come out on top in training, prove myself in games – and hopefully things will get better.

How self-critical is professional Emre Can?

Very self-critical. I can rate my performance well – critically, but also when I think I played well and got bad marks from outside.

And what is the result of the reflection on the season so far?

It wasn’t good, I have to be honest with myself. I can do a lot more, I know that. A lot of club people know that. My goal is to get that back and step on the accelerator. But maybe my mistake is that sometimes I want too much, so I have to calm down.

Despite playing time, you are one of the star players and also a member of the team council. What is your role in the locker room?

I feel like I’m very respected in the team. Many know that I have been in the business for many years and have gained my experience. I talk a lot with Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and the rest of the team board, anyone can always come and talk to me. But high standing needs to be backed up more by performance.

Do you consciously express criticism publicly, for example after the Champions League game at FC Copenhagen?

I don’t do it consciously, it depends on the game. If I don’t like something, I’ll say it honestly – but I’ll also say it here if I liked something that others didn’t. I always try to do it positively, but sometimes it’s hard for me too.

In the public criticism of Mats Hummels, Edin Terzic always pointed out that he also expressed it internally. Do you also do it in the cabin?

Occasionally, yes. The exchange in the team is now very good. We talk to many players about what can and should be improved. This is also extremely important, sometimes such stimulus points have to be set in a team and things have to be tackled in a tough way – even if one or the other doesn’t like it. It’s the only way forward.

thoughts of emigration? No!

Your contract runs until 2024. What are the prospects for the summer? After moving from Liverpool to Turin, you said you needed changes and new challenges from time to time.

I have already thought about my future, but I don’t have a concrete plan at the moment. I’m happy in Dortmund at the moment, the contract lasts another year and a half. What happens next is still a long way off.

Have you thought about migrating in the last six months?

no I’m happy here, things fit in well at the club and I’m close to my family in Frankfurt, among other places. Who matches.

In Germany, I have always been regarded more critically.

You have already played in England and Italy. Do you feel that your image in Germany and abroad is different?

Good question! Yes, I have that feeling in a very extreme way. I have a completely different status abroad, in England for example. I do not know why. Maybe people respect my achievements differently or appreciate me better as a footballer. In Germany, I have always been regarded more critically. I know I haven’t played my best football since I’ve been at Dortmund. But I also played good games, last season was good personally, although I mostly played in a different position. It wasn’t as bad as is often claimed, I stand by that opinion.

Does the image bother you?

Of course, I’m honest there too, it would bother all footballers. But I’m used to Germany. I have no choice but to keep pushing and helping the team. Everything else is out of my hands.

Interview: Patrick Kleinman

#interview #outsider

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