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Hamrén on defending
By Tore Aune Fjellstad, 15 March 2009, 17:25

Lacking crucial speed at the back while Kris Stadsgaard's injured knee heals up, Erik Hamrén emphasises defensive smartness.

"Kris has great speed, which is important for any footballer."

Will you sometimes have to alter the team tactics, particularily on home pitch, when you're lacking Stadsgaard's pace in the back four?

"No, we wouldn't have to change the tactics. However, there were some matches last season where we were too naïve during our defensive play and paid little heed to the space behind our back four. A basic defensive rule is that unless you put pressure on the man with the ball, you have to pay attention to the space behind your back line. There were times during last autumn when we weren't good enough at this, thus aiding our opponents. The match against Bodø/Glimt is a good example. This season I'm hoping we will be better at reading the flow of play, and not give away chances like that."

Do you feel Demidov and Lago have gelled as a centre back unit?

"Yes, I think so. At the same time, even Andreas [Nordvik] has played well. I thought he was our best player against Stabæk. Andreas is a very competent defender, but he still has his ups and downs. He needs to improve on his stability, and avoid dubious involvements in high-risk situations. Again, during the Bodø/Glimt game he played an overall good game - but he was also involved in two of their goals. We're working with Andreas to remove some of these glitches. Otherwise, he has many good qualities."

Wha is Nordviks prime quality?

"He is very, very quick and explosive. He is also a strong duel player in one-on-one situations. He has played well, but Lago and Demidov have usually started. There is a lot of competition in every position even though Kris is out injured, which is a good thing."

Does Demidov and Lago complement each other well, or is there a risk that they may be too similar?

"There's not much of risk involved as long as you work on the right things. In the forward positions, you can easily use two completely identical players if they're both good at the job they're supposed to do. However, if we don't keep focus we'll be vulnerable because neither Demidov nor Lago has the all-out speed of Kris and Andreas. But football is just as much about reading the flow ot the play. Hoftun was a good example of this - a player who always positioned himself well."

What are your thoughts on the defensive play during the winter friendlies?

"We have conceded few goals. A portion of these goals have come after set pieces. I'm sure we can improve somewhat, but sometimes our opponents will simply be really good at set pieces. We've also conceded some penalties. This is also an area where we'll have to improve, but these are inherently difficult and marginal situations."

"We shall improve. Our opponents should get even fewer chances, and above all we should prevent them from scoring on the few chances they're likely to get. If you take a look at last season, we didn't give away many chances to our opponents - but they ended up scoring on too many of those chances. This is something we're looking to improve upon."

What does it say about RBK when their opponents always seem to put their chances?

"To some degree it depends on the skill of our opponents, but we may have to improve our play in one-on-ones. We were often hit on the break when we were pushing up in attack. Some times our players made the wrong decisions, and there were even some out-and-out errors, individual errors, that cost us some goals."

"We have to improve both on an individual level and as a team. Looking at the pre-season friendlies, I think they indicate we're moving in the right direction."

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