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Zeman the man for Crvena Zvezda
Zdeněk Zeman is aiming for "domestic trophies but also new achievements in Europe" after being named the FK Crvena Zvezda coach.
Time for a change
The 61-year-old Czech, who has spent much of his career in Italy, has agreed a two-year contract with the Serbian Superliga runners-up following the decision to dismiss 36-year-old Aleksandar Janković. The Belgrade club's youngest-ever coach was sacked after FK Partizan ended Crvena Zvezda's run of two successive domestic doubles with one of their own. 'Red Star' sporting director Goran Bunjevčević said: "Zeman prefers attacking football and that is what we want for the future. We feel we have chosen the best man for our club."
Zeman, whose only previous posting outside Italy came with a brief spell at Fenerbahçe SK in 1999/2000, is delighted with the appointment, having witnessed Crvena Zvezda's finest hour in person – the 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup final, won on penalties against Olympique de Marseille. "I was in Bari when Crvena Zvezda beat Marseille in the final," Zeman said. "I love this club and had an attachment to them before signing my contract. I have watched six DVDs of Crvena Zvezda games from last season – they didn't lose a league match all season."
Knows what is required
Crvena Zvezda will start their UEFA Cup campaign in the second qualifying round in August, and Zeman is ready for the challenge that lies ahead both in Serbia and in Europe. "I know what Crvena Zvezda always want – domestic trophies but also new achievements in Europe," said the former Foggia Calcio, S.S. Lazio, AS Roma and SSC Napoli trainer. "First, though, we must complete the team with players who can play our way. I know the kind of people we are looking for and we will bring them here. After that, we need hard work on a daily basis. Footballing philosophy is not a simple thing. You must build something and wait for results."
The building process has already begun, with 'Red Star' signing right-back Marjan Marković, goalkeeper Sasa Stamenković, midfielders Dragomir Vukobratović and Nemanja Nikolić, and forward Ibrahim Somć. Six further additions are expected, including Olympiacos CFP striker Darko Kovačević and RC Lens defender Milan Biševac, both of whom have played for the club before. Another significant development is a deal struck with second-division FK Srem, whereby Crvena Zvezda academy players will gain valuable playing experience with the Sremska Mitrovica side.