Daszek: “This is the road to contemporary handball”
“We don’t have limits anymore,” says Orlen Wisla Plock’s Michal Daszek. “Everyone can play on each position. This is the road to contemporary handball.” Daszek’s main position is right wing, but he also plays back and would like to spend more and more time there.
Last weekend, Plock won an extremely important game against Dinamo Bucuresti, 29:28, and Daszek stood out for Wisla, making his way into the Best 7. It seems the Polish runners-up are back on track for the knock-out phase after some troubles, although there is still a lot to improve. Next, they take on Elverum Handball in Poland.
ehfCL.com spoke with Daszek about Plock’s adaptation to new coach Xavier Sabate, the challenges of playing in Group D for the first time and his hope to spend more time at right back.
ehfCL.com: Last weekend you earned a place in the Best 7, passed the 700-goal mark for Plock and won an extremely important game against Bucuresti. Was it your best weekend recently?
Michal Daszek: I hope there will be better ones [laughs]! I’m happy that I can help my team in taking victories. I’m working hard to improve my shape constantly. If my team plays well and so do I, I am twice as happy. But the team is the most important, so I would agree to play less if that means that Wisla would play better. We still need to be more mature so as not to win by only one goal when we lead by five during the game.
ehfCL.com: You started the season very well but then you had a little crisis. It seems that after the national team break you are back on track.
Michal Daszek: Our weaker period shook the players. It’s nice to win but failures teach you the most. The engagement now is much bigger. We know we can’t make mistakes anymore – we lost enough points in both the Polish and Champions League.
ehfCL.com: Why do you think that happened?
Michal Daszek: In previous seasons, we played in stronger groups of the Champions League and everyone believed that in Group D it would be relatively easier, but it’s not. The matches are also very hard. We still need time to adapt to our new coach’s style. What is more, I think that after a good start we believed in ourselves too much and we crashed with reality. But it’s good, because now we have our feet on the ground.
ehfCL.com: So, in fact, Groups C and D are not much weaker than A and B?
Michal Daszek: Exactly! And the best example is Montpellier, who won last FINAL4. It’s also a totally different mental situation for us. In previous seasons we were outsiders; nobody counted on us. Now we need to win each game to prove our value. But it’s good – sometimes after taking one step backwards you can do two steps forward.
ehfCL.com: What is a main difference in your style under the new coach, Xavier Sabate?
Michal Daszek: German handball is more physical; Spanish is based on using players’ advantages in different sectors of the field. In each training session we learn how to lead to such situations and how to win them. It’s really not easy to change the philosophy.
ehfCL.com: But it is now the time of Spanish philosophy in European handball, isn’t it? It seems that more teams that count in the game play this way.
Michal Daszek: Everyone has got their own opinion about it, but mine is similar, indeed. I think that Spanish coaches fit in with handball. Personally, I like playing in the Spanish style.
ehfCL.com: On the other hand, it seems that we have a trend to play very tough defence and focus on fast breaks – the positional attack takes a back seat.
Michal Daszek: Well, I think you win matches through the defence, especially in the final stages of the game. I’m very happy that coach Sabate supports defensive play. We have a very aggressive defence, which should exert pressure on our opponents.
ehfCL.com: Which of the opponents will be the most difficult for you?
Michal Daszek: We focus only on Elverum! They play very well in defence and do what we talked about – they lead many fast breaks. Nobody thinks about any other game right now. Our first game wasn’t easy. We had luck that our goalkeeper Adam Borbely saved some balls in the end. Now we need to be more focused because they will definitely want to take a revenge!
ehfCL.com: What are strengths of Wisla Plock this season?
Michal Daszek: I think we are still developing ourselves in the defence. More and more players play in more positions. We are aware of our tasks. Coach Sabate’s system produces results and our recent game showed it as we scored many easy goals by fast breaks.
ehfCL.com: Talking about playing in different positions, how do you feel playing at back?
Michal Daszek: I always liked it! I am happy that coach noticed that I can spend about 10 minutes of the match there. Pity, that I can’t stay there longer [laughs]! I enjoy each minute as a back and I’m happy that I am useful for my team in that role. I hope that with my hard work one day I will prove that I can play there permanently.
In my opinion, universalism is needed in handball. It’s very much a contact sport. Often we need to fill in the gaps and a man who can play in two positions becomes more useful. In our trainings, nobody is tethered to one positions and wings like me are taught how to solve situations typical for the backs. And this is the road to contemporary handball. We don’t have limits anymore in case of height, for example – everyone can play everywhere.