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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Rob Robertson auth-> Peter Sippel
24 of 052 ----- E A

Pressley demands more substance, less style

ROB ROBERTSON in Prague September 28 2006

Steven Pressley, named this week as one of the most stylish men in Scotland, will have to show he can cut a dash against Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic tonight.
He must lead his team to nothing less than a two-goal victory over Sparta Prague to give the Tynecastle outfit any chance of making the group stages of the UEFA Cup.
The captain's nomination as a top style guru has brought a bit of light relief to the Hearts camp as they make their final preparations for the vital UEFA Cup second-leg match at the Toyota Arena.

Pressley, who has been the victim of some ribbing by his team-mates over his award, is under no illusions that his team face a tough task to overcome the 2-0 first-leg deficit.
"To say we're underdogs is an understatement but I think we have an opportunity to cause an upset," said Pressley. "If we score, they will become very nervous and we are certainly capable of doing that.

"We've had three players sent off in European matches so far this season and that is not good enough so tonight we have to play with controlled aggression to give ourselves a chance.
"When you look at the majority of top footballers, they all play with controlled aggression and I believe, if we get it right, we could spring a surprise."
Pressley is urging more substance from his team-mates partly because, he believes, Hearts were well below par in the first leg and the team from the Czech Republic were given an easy time at Murrayfield.

"From all my years at Hearts, the first leg was possibly the most disappointing European tie I have been involved in," said Pressley. "You come to expect an aggressive and physi-cal approach from a Hearts side but I never thought we achieved that in the first leg and I was bitterly disappointed at the way we played.
"We have responded very well since then and have recorded three consecutive away vic-tories, so we will go into the match full of confidence."

Pressley revealed that the club's owner, Vladimir Romanov, had addressed the players after the home defeat against Sparta Prague and some home truths had been told.
"What he said stays inside the dressing room but there were a few words said from different quarters," said Pressley. "The key, though, was that through everything we have stayed together as a team and kept that good team spirit.
"Yes, there was a discussion after the game and we needed people to stand up and be counted after our defeat against Sparta Prague but that's exactly what the players have done."

Pressley believes that hard work, coupled with controlled aggression and the set-piece play from Paul Hartley, will cause Sparta Prague problems this evening.
"We have a good spirit, but must keep doing the ugly things in the game well, like working hard," said the Hearts captain. "I watched Celtic, who have very good players, against Copenhagen, and they work very hard for each other.

"We have been doing that lately, too, and that is part of the reason we have been winning. Also Paul [Hartley] is excellent at free-kicks and that can be invaluable in Europe."
Valdas Ivanauskas, the Hearts manager, praised his players for their attitude since they were beaten by Sparta Prague and felt, like his captain, that his side could spring a surprise.
"We played very well in the second-half against Aberdeen on Sunday and I think if we can play like that against Sparta Prague, we will have a good chance," said Ivanauskas.
"They are a very experienced team and it is difficult to play against them. It is very important for us to score an early goal, but we can do that.

"If we win, it will be the biggest result for Hearts ever and we are ready for the match. We have played well in our last three games and I have confidence in my players to do well.
"We realise that Sparta Prague have been playing well in their own league as well as in Europe and are going through a good time on the park.
"However, we didn't play well in the first leg and tonight gives us the chance to show what we can really do."

Taken from the Herald

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