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First and maybe last chance. Baník’s former coach motivated him to succeed with his experience

Short and spontaneous as we all looked exhausted. We went all the way, as it should be, even the final in the heat was challenging, we all had enough to celebrate somehow more. We didn’t even plan anything in advance, so we enjoyed the trip back and some time in Ružomberok. Then the boys went to bed. It was spontaneous, beautiful and short.

Ružomberok has the cup for the second time in its history, after eighteen years. How do people perceive it, because even though the club has some titles, it doesn’t win trophies every year?

I think very positively. As you say, the cup after eighteen years, because in the past the team was not that strong. And even the current one is not comparable to the earlier ones that won titles because Ružomberok had well-known players. No one expected it from us, but everything went step by step, lap by lap, when everything was coming together, it had to sit down. Winter preparation certainly helped. Everything happened spontaneously. Six, procedures in the cup, the final, until it escalated like this. I think that when the owner, the mayor and the entire management see it, they were happy. They were experiencing it.

Athletes say shortly after success that they don’t even realize it. What you?

I also told the players about my experience, that I played in the cup final, but in 2008 we lost on penalties. At that time I was about 27 years old, I didn’t even realize that this could be the first and last chance. I took it for granted. Only in retrospect do I sometimes realize and regret that I perceived it that way, even though at that time the cup did not have such weight and viewership even in the Czech Republic. That’s why I appealed to the guys to just do everything to win, because it can be just one opportunity, but we mustn’t miss it. That we have to respect it and win. I think we were aware of the importance of the match, we wanted to succeed and everything was adapted to that.

Ondřej Smetana after winning the Slovak Cup.Ondřej Smetana after winning the Slovak Cup.Source: MFK Ružomberok

What do you think tipped the final in your favor?

Probably comprehensive readiness. We try to be good in all attributes. That’s what moved me here. Being strong in the low block is a must to be successful with this team. That wins big games, sometimes you have to survive. Every weekend we play against strong teams, against them you have to be organized, strong in front of your own goal and I think that’s what made the difference. In the first half, the game settled down after the initial pressure and we were better in places. It’s a shame that the beginning of the second, when Trnava started nervously, was inaccurate, we didn’t make more use of it. The majority of the second half was played in front of our goal where we were solid, organized in the low block. In the end, lust also helped us to prove something and take the cup from Trnava. Be successful. And complexity.

What do you mean?

In the last fifteen or so matches, we have the second highest number of goals scored, and also a good defense. So it’s not just about her, but we are organized going forward and in the final third we can do very well, functionally. It’s why we are where we are.

So do you take this success as your lifetime achievement so far?

I’m still only forty-one years old, so I believe there’s more to come. But from the career so far, probably yes. As a player I was second in Slovakia, third in the Czech Republic, until the cup final, so I will build this the highest, but as I said, I still need one goal to surpass my father, so I have something to work on.


Jakub Markovič.

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What will be next? Winning the cup may have taken some of the charge out of the rest of the league because you don’t have to worry about who you finish. Or not?

I think football is about a certain set-up, a mentality. And we certainly wouldn’t want to lose that, or get out of it, because he can jump into it stupidly. This has to be a priority for a team like us in order to be competitive against strong opponents. Therefore, we must not jump out of it. At the same time, we must realize that all the goals we had were achieved. Reaching them, so it’s going to be hard to motivate guys and keep them on that set up. The whole competition and the cup cost us a lot of energy.

And the rest of the league will still cost you something…

We play in Trnava, we have Žilina at home and we go to Slovan. And the rivalry with everyone and the fact that there is still a lot to play for in the league does not allow us to slack off. The rest of the teams are playing for second, third, fourth, fifth place, and we don’t want to make anything easier for anyone. We feel we have some responsibility to save face. That’s motivation. In addition, Trnava will want to return the final with interest. It would be nice to show that it won’t be easy.

Match of the 2nd round of the Czech football cup MOL Cup: FC Hlučín - FCBaník Ostrava, August 29, 2023, Hlučín.  Coach Hlučín Ondřej Smetana.Coach Ondřej Smetana.Source: Diary/Lukáš Kaboň

In addition to bringing the club a cup trophy, it also gave the club a ticket to Europe. That can’t be ignored, right?

Yeah, that’s actually the biggest motivation to win the cup, that it’s the easiest way to Europe. In addition, when Slovakia’s coefficient increased, it is no longer a ticket to the Conference League, but to the European one, where we can expect to encounter quality. This is already the purpose of the process, where we will try to add to the team, revive it and work on preparation. We’ll get down to it starting Monday, because there’s a lot of work ahead of us that comes with it. Playing cups is not only a pleasure, but also a responsibility, because you have to work on the coefficient for Slovakia. It’s a commitment. As when we reached the top six, in which we wanted to score points, which we did well, the same will await us in Europe.

What would you say if you happen to come across Baník, who is currently in fourth place in the league?

I didn’t even think of that. We are already there, Baník still has a long way to go, although I think they have it in their hands. But they have to make it. But as I say, I didn’t think of this.

While you achieved great success in Slovakia, there is speculation in the Czech Republic that you could be the new coach of Slovácko. So is it realistic?

I didn’t decide anything until the final and we only concentrated on being successful in that match with Trnava. Otherwise, everything is handled by my agent, with whom we agreed that there will be time for possible offers after the cup. And then what will be, will be.

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