Davis: “We tell ourselves that we are winners”
David Davis found Telekom Veszprém HC not in great shape when to took over as head in October 2018, just a few matches into the EHF Champions League 2018/19 season.
But the Spanish coach brought peace at the Hungarian club, and good results.
Voted coach of the All-star Team last season, Davis is now eyeing his biggest triumph with the club: winning the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.
eurohandball.com: What is on top of your wish list for this festive period?
David Davis: To win the EHF FINAL4, it is very precious (laughs). Even though we are still in the middle of the season, we have to perform at the biggest club event. The holidays, therefore, will be special as well. But once we arrive to Cologne, we will focus on the victory as we need to be at our best to come back home with the trophy.
eurohandball.com: What are your key learnings since signing with Veszprém just over two years ago?
David Davis: The life of a sportsman as well as a coach is always about constant learning. It is not about changing your principles or your ideas but developing and improving all the time. I am convinced that we all need to adapt and learn, to correct mistakes. My current club helps me a lot in everything. They are so professional, that I can fully focus on my work as a coach. I don’t waste my time in an office job, as some of my colleagues have to do in smaller clubs. I am learning every day from them. I’m very interested in management and it supports me to do my best.
eurohandball.com: How do you see your team right now? Are they playing like you want them to?
David Davis: I am really happy with our side. One of our secrets is the high standard of the trainings. Actually, some practice sessions are tougher than the matches. Our tactics are perfectly shaped around the players’ skills. They are highly motivated.
eurohandball.com: What do you think of being named coach of the All-star Team last season?
David Davis: To be honest, I was surprised when I got to know the nomination, but then of course I wanted to win and it was a joyful moment when the result was published. As a coach, we often work individually and we can feel this loneliness very deep. This kind of awards is always a boost, but it could not have been possible without the rest of my team, and therefore this is our team’s prize. I do not lean back, actually, it motivates me more.
eurohandball.com: László Nagy, the icon of Hungarian handball and former Veszprém player, said that you can be friendly and tough at the same time with your players. How would you describe your relationship with them?
David Davis: Since I arrived in Veszprém, I have been honest. No one will ever reproach me for being fake or for hiding myself behind a mask. I am exactly what you see. I am friendly and accessible, but also tough when it’s needed. My players know that. I’m not their best friend but they can call me whenever they want. I ask many things from them to maximise our chances to achieve our goals. For that, we have to have a relationship where both sides feel that there is no tomorrow without each other.
eurohandball.com: How would you sum up this season so far?
David Davis: We have only lost one match. We always want to win and it is an extremely long season but so far, so good. The team play certainly well. What is the most important for me is that we evolve. From week to week, we go one step forward. Mentally, we are in good shape. But a lot will depend on whether we win the trophy or not.
eurohandball.com: How do Veszprém prepare for the EHF FINAL4?
David Davis: I always tell them: ‘If you do not see yourselves as winners, you cannot win.’ So, we tell ourselves that we are winners. Physically, we are ready to bring the trophy home. In one match everything can happen. Two seasons ago, we listened to The Ride of the Valkyries, it helped but it was not enough and we finished runners-up. Maybe we should have listened to the complete Ring der Nibelungen.
eurohandball.com: What can be the key of success?
David Davis: In Cologne there will be the top defences and goalkeepers - and ours should be the best. With great efficiency in keeping the ball away from our net, we can win. On the other hand, over these two days you need to be able to deal with anything mentally.
eurohandball.com: Usually at the EHF FINAL4 you see individual players step up during the two days. Who could take up that role for Veszprém this year?
David Davis: I hope that everyone will step up and not just one or two players. Goalkeepers have a crucial role, however one player cannot win the cup. Everybody should play on the highest level. For success, you need at least four or five players to perform on absolutely high-class level. If that happens, we will enjoy the moment for a bit, then turn back to handball as the World Championship approaches.
Two seasons ago, we listened to The Ride of the Valkyries, it helped but it was not enough and we finished runners-up. Maybe we should have listened to the complete Ring der Nibelungen.