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10.11.2016, 18:31◄ last page     

INTERVIEW: The Croatian winger sat down with ehfCL.com to talk about his move to Vardar, working with Spanish coaches and his goals for the season

Ivan Cupic: “The transfer to Vardar was the right choice for me”

With the collection of medals from all the national teams’ competitions Ivan Cupic had managed to collect, the Croatian added a VELUX EHF Champions League one to the mix with Kielce last season. However, the desire for new challenges brought the Croatian winger to Skopje where he joined his teammates from the national team – Karacic and Cindric.

Below in the ehfcl.com interview read more about his transfer to Skopje, work with Spanish coaches and his expectations in the new season.

ehfCL.com: You moved from Kielce - the team where you won the Champion League title to a team that has not played yet in the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Why did you choose Vardar?

Ivan Cupic: I spent four seasons in Kielce and with this club I literally won everything. I have titles from the Polish championship and cup and I played twice at the EHF FINAL4 where finally last year we managed to win this competition. I felt that I had to change something so I needed some challenge and Vardar fit in my plan. This is a team that wants to go a step further and aims to get in the FINAL4 that is why I think that I made the right choice by transferring to this club.

ehfCL.com: At the Olympic Games in Rio you suffered from an injury and that is the reason for your limited playing time in the opening matches of the Champions League. Do you fell fit now?

Ivan Cupic: It wasn’t just the injury but also the fatigue from all of the activities during the summer. We spent the whole summer preparing for the Olympic Games and we were all exhausted but also sad because of the result we achieved in Rio. That is why in the first matches of the Champions League I wasn’t able to give my maximum. Now step by step I started joining the team and I finally adapted because I feel that my teammates trust me more.

ehfCL.com: How hard was it for you to adapt to the new club and Raul Gonzales system?

Ivan Cupic: It wasn’t difficult to adapt to the new club because Croatians are very similar to Macedonians so when it comes to the language and mentality everything was easy. There are also other Balkan players so it was easy to adapt to the team as well. When it comes to the coach Raul Gonzales, I can say that he is very similar to Talant Dujshebaev as both are Spanish coaches and he requires a lot of similar things like Talant.

ehfCL.com: You mention the similarities between Gonzales and Dujshebaev. Can you tell us more about the difference between them?

Ivan Cupic: The training methods and tactics in both defence and offence are quite similar with some minor variations. When it comes to the differences Raul Gonzales spends more time on video analysis and he has a little bit more interesting trainings because he requires more running and Talant focuses a lot on tactics. Both coaches know what they want and I feel good working with both of them. With Talant I won the Champions League and I believe that I can achieve the same with Raul Gonzales.

ehfCL.com: What do you think will be decisive in the Match of the Week against Kielce on Saturday?  

Ivan Cupic: Small details will decide the winners in such matches. The goalkeeper will have a big impact. I’m sure that we will have some tough 60 minutes but we will play in front of our fans and with their support I hope that we will show the best performance this season and win against Kielce.

ehfCL.com: Vardar has a very good record to date with four victories and one defeat. How are you satisfied with the results achieved to date?

Ivan Cupic: We had a chance to start the season with five victories and everything was great except the match in Zagreb where we defeated ourselves. We have more matches before the end of the group phase and I’m satisfied because the other teams also had some defeats so this leaves us the opportunity to fight for the first two positions in the group.

ehfCL.com: Which teams are among the favorites in this season and what are your goals this season?

Ivan Cupic: The favorites are always the same teams – Kielce, Barcelona, Veszprem and PSG. On paper these teams have the best players but in the end that doesn’t have to mean anything. I believe that my new team plays smarter today and has more quality then in the previous years. I hope that injuries will surpass us in the most important moments and we will be in good shape and this will take us one step further.

TEXT: Amina Idrizi / bc

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