I have been watching our football for many years and several times I was convinced that we gave up the selectors too quickly. This was the case with Waldemar Fornalik, and later with Adam Nawałka. So I am glad that Jerzy Brzęczek received a credit of trust from Zbyszek Bonek – said in an interview with Interia the former coach of the Polish national team, Antoni Piechniczek.
Sebastian Staszewski, Interia: On Monday, the president of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Boniek, decided that Jerzy Brzęczek would remain the coach of the Polish national team for the European Championship. Are you satisfied?
Antoni Piechniczek: – I think it is a good decision. I understand Zbyszek, who appreciated the fact that Brzęczek was promoted to the European Championship from the first place in the group; he deserved to go to such a tournament. I have been looking at our ball for many years and I was convinced several times that the managers were abandoned too quickly. This was the case with Waldemar Fornalik, and later with Adam Nawałka. So it’s good that the coach received a credit of trust from the president. Now we should all keep our fingers crossed for its success.
What did you like more this fall: the style of the representation or its results?
– You provoke … Both do not always go hand in hand. If the team wins, even if it does not play as we expect, then we should be happy. And it’s better to lose two games weakly and then win than to be praised for playing each time, but to come off the pitch defeated 0-1.
However, after defeats 0-1 with the Netherlands in Amsterdam and 0-2 with Italy in Reggio Emilia, did you not think that we are more vulnerable against the strongest and best trained than a few years ago?
– Looking at the course of these two matches, I can say that today we are not moving forward, although working with the team is a complicated project that cannot be summarized in a few terms that you used. First of all, the general manager must go to the heads of the representatives today; make it clear to them that he cares not only about the results, but also about the players. Because something is wrong. Did you see at least one player standing out in the game against Italy? I saw one: Wojtek Szczęsny.
So what should Brzęczek do? Do you have any advice for him?
– He has to ask himself why he was not concentrating. From the first whistle it was obvious that it was a bad day. If Jurek was sitting here with us, I think he would confirm these observations. After the warm-up, I saw that the Italians are incredibly motivated and charged. And the match started like angry bulls. We, on the other hand, had no spark. We lost that match before it really started …
As many as 25 players played at the November training camp. And we still don’t know who is the primary goalkeeper, who will play left and right back, what is the midfield like … Until when should the selection last?
– Brzęczek’s situation is completely different than that of, for example, Adaś Nawałka. Jurek is preparing for the Euro, but at the same time he is doomed to – and we with him – that he will also start the qualifying round of the World Cup.
That is why he put so much emphasis on young people: Jakub Moder, Kamil Jóźwiak, Przemysław Płacheta. This argument strongly supports Brzęczek. Today, the rejuvenation of the staff is one of the priorities.
– It’s good that Brzęczek trusts these boys, because they have proved several times that they are ready to join the team. For example, such a Moder sounded really solid, but without any revelation. But don’t expect them to play for the national team twice and suddenly take all responsibility. Yesterday I watched the match between Cracovia and Legia Warsaw. I saw Bartosz Kapustka who was supposed to be a revelation. And today this Kapustka, who should be the team leader, where is he? He is in Ekstraklasa! Someone is responsible for this. And yet Nawałka gave him a good chance.
Do the vocations of Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Grosicki have any reasonable explanation? Both in their clubs are unwanted players who watch matches not from the bench but from the stands. They come to the frame and … play tails.
– I can see the guilt of the players who made the wrong decisions. Polish footballers are minimalists when it comes to pursuing goals. A Polish footballer when they made a million, that is, they are full, and a Dutch player, when they made a million, wants to earn another eight. This is the mentality of Robert Lewandowski and that’s why he is great. In my opinion, the one who should explain to our boys that they are doing wrong is president Zbyszek Boniek.
Do you understand the wave of criticism and sometimes even hate that Brzęczek is currently struggling with?
– Each selector must be prepared for it. I also struggled with hate, although nobody said that at the time. One of the journalists told me years ago: “Mr. Coach, you must have a hard abdomen.” And Jurek must also have. I will also use the words of a European coach who is important to this day, who said: “The coach of the national team must work quickly and with good results”. People have expectations, that’s normal. But in 1982, from the start of preparations for the World Cup to the very departure, I spent 100 days with the team. Brzęczek has been working for the Polish Football Association for two years and did not even come close to this result. Therefore, it must be thorough, precise, organized. He cannot count on luck, cannot operate in chaos. There is a saying that all roads lead to Rome. You can go to it through the Alps and waste your time, but you can also go straight ahead, on a decent road. For now, at times one can get the impression that we are, however, going through the Alps. And as a result, there is criticism.
Even the captain of the team, Robert Lewandowski, attacked the selector with meaningful silence. It is difficult to work in the conditions of a besieged fortress.
– Here an important question needs to be asked: why is it so difficult for Brzęczek? Because they can’t? Or maybe it depends on the reluctance of the players, the fact that they are less capacious students? Is there anything that is bothering them? It seems to me that the third question is valid. Today footballers have thousands of issues to deal with: club and family arrangements, capital investment, media. Maybe they are the problem, not the coach? I will give you the example of Jasia Bednarek. In the match against the Netherlands he behaved like a sucker on the penalty kick. I was playing defense and I know something. In the case of a fixed piece, it should stand to the side of the player, not behind him. And Janek positioned himself like that. If I was sitting there on a bench, I would have jumped into the air! I show that the whole blame cannot be blamed on the selector alone. The players have to cooperate with him
Finally, let’s gently get away from the pitch. You waited until 2015 to write your autobiography, although the last time you worked as a coach was 15 years earlier, and you had the Polish championship and a world championship medal. Brzęczek published the book while in position, although he can only boast of being promoted to Euro. It was a mistake?
– Times have changed. I had other clues, he has others. Perhaps you surround yourself with people who see it as business. They would like to help him, but also benefit from it, to have something for themselves. The truth is that we will only find out about the rightness of this decision after the championship.