‘Everybody knew the way Russia played’
On Wednesday (10 October) the Handball Union of Russia named Vitaly Krokhin the new head coach for the women’s national team.
He had already been the team’s interim coach at the Golden League tournament in the first week of October in Denmark.
Two days after his appointment the experienced handball expert Krokhin talks to eurohandball.com.
eurohandball.com: Andrey Lavrov, Russia’s Handball Player of Year, emphasized that your programme for the women’s national team was clearly the best among the applicants. For you personally, what is the most important in your approach?
Vitaly Krokhin: My programme shall tackle the urgent problems of the team. I intend to focus on aspects of our game, not the physical conditions (of our players). In recent years Russia lost to main opponents because everybody knew the way Russia played. The other important question is the question of prestige. Some of the women came to the national team without any desire (to play) – it's incredible.
eurohandball.com: Who will be your assistant?
Vitaly Krokhin: I asked Anatoly Skorobogatov to be my assistant. This coach worked for years with junior and youth teams. He just finished the work with women’s 20 national team that showed a good performance at the Junior World Championship (ed. they finished 5th).
eurohandball.com: What do you think your team’s performance at the Golden League in Denmark where they finished second?
Vitaly Krokhin: In the short training camp period before the tournament, we tried to refresh the tactics in our attack and it worked out in Denmark. I'm satisfied with the performance of my team in first two matches (25:25 against Norway, 26:24 against France). When we played Denmark in the third day (Russia lost 29:35), I decided to rest some key players like Postnova, Kuznetsova, Davydenko.
eurohandball.com: Which players surprised you at the Golden League?
The line player from Volgograd, Ksenia Makeeva, was really good. She was very efficient in her attacks and earned us a lot of penalty shots. The back court players feed the 6-metre line very often. Ekaterina Ilyina showed a nice performance, she is Russia’s hopeful for the playmaker position in the near future. Marina Yartseva and Olga Chernoivanenko were stable in the right wing and I'd like to notice the performance of our new right back Anna Punko from Krasnodar.
eurohandball.com: Who are the key players in the Russian national team right now?
Vitaly Krokhin: Lyudmila Postnova – there is no question. (But) she has injury problems and we have to protect her and let her play only in decisive moments. Tatyana Khmyrova overcame post-Olympics crisis and should be the mastermind of the team.
eurohandball.com: Who will we see in your team in the coming weeks?
Vitaly Krokhin: Inna Suslina and Ekaterina Andryushina – that's for sure. Inna is a personality who is able to very much strengthen our team spirit. Ekaterina is very helpful not only like as playmaker, but also like a skillful defender.
eurohandball.com: How will you prepare for the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia?
Vitaly Krokhin: We will have three days of trainings before the Turchin Cup in Ukraine (22 to 25 November). After that it will be only one week before the start of EHF Euro 2012.
eurohandball.com: Are you not afraid of the new kind of work because you have never been head coach on this level?
Vitaly Krokhin: I never refused to be the head coach. For example, when I was together with Trefilov at Lada Toljatti, we never made a difference between who was the head coach and who was the assistant. I have enough experience of work on the highest level. And the final result will show how the team and I have worked together.
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TEXT: Artem Shmelkov / ts