Vrba: No one believed us, but the whole of Zlín collapsed

>> Playoff for the first football league – return match: Vyškov – Zlín, June 4, 2023, Drnovice, Vyškovsko. Zlín coach Pavel Vrba.

Drnovice (Vyškovsko) – According to Pavel Vrba, the coach of the Zlín football players, apparently no one believed that his players could stay in the top competition during the season. The former coach of the Czech national team felt all the more joy and satisfaction when the entire club rallied, averted the threat of direct relegation in the superstructure, and dealt with second-division Vyškov in the play-off. The fifty-nine-year-old Vrba also took a dig at some journalists, according to whom he is already too old to train.

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Zlín defeated Vyškov 1:0 at home on Thursday and played a goalless draw with the second team of the second league in today's rematch of the tie in Drnovice. “I hope that next year there won't be such nerves as this year. We have already been in a situation where probably no one believed that we could save ourselves. We managed to do it and I appreciate it all the more. The whole club pulled together, which paid off . Both in the final (extra) group, where we scored a lot of points, and in the tie with Vyškov,” said Vrba at the press conference.

After the autumn, Zlín took over the penultimate place in the table. After the regular season, “Shoemakers” even dropped to the last position. “When I came to Zlín, maybe 10 percent of the people in the club and in the city believed in it (the rescue). With gradual steps, we managed to get everyone to believe in it at the end. The most important thing was to convince the people around and the fans that we don't care and that we want to play next season in Zlín in the league with the best teams from the Czech Republic. Even the quality went higher and higher with each match or month,” said Vrba.

“I believe that this is an impetus for the next season as well. The players, officials and fans should convince themselves that it is possible. I will not claim that we can compete with Slavia, Sparta or Pilsen, it will probably be difficult. On the other hand, I do not think that we should fight for survival, we could perhaps be in the calm middle part of the table,” added Vrba, who plans to continue at the Moravian club. “I haven't discussed with anyone yet that I should leave Zlín,” said the three-time champion of the Czech league with Pilsen.

Despite the warm weather, he coached both play-off matches in a sweater. He jokingly mentioned that he might buy a vest. “In the Czech Republic, I had moments where I walked for a long time in a suit, even though in May I was sweating at almost 40 degrees. This is how I show the team that I trust them. Maybe that's part of it,” Vrba said.

The former coach of Sparta, Ostrava, Žilina, Makhachkala or Ludogorca Razgrad also took a dig at the journalists. “I'm already close to retirement, according to some I shouldn't even train anymore. I read in the media that some people questioned how it is possible that I'm still training at my age. I guess I'm calmer (during the celebrations) because I can go soon to the social security office and apply for a pension,” said Vrba sarcastically.

After the match, he performed his typical victory roll, which he became famous for in Pilsen. “I just wanted to convince everyone that I can still do it. I haven't done it for a long time. I wasn't even in the mood to do something like that somewhere. I was in the mood today, so I showed that even though I'm old, there are still some things I can,” added the native of Přerov with a laugh.