19. 02. 2020

INTERVIEW: Daniele Santarelli about Croatian NT – “We know we must work hard“

Source: Photo: cev.eu

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Parallel to managing Imoco Volley Conegliano, 38-year old Italian continued his role as a head coach of Croatia’s women national team.


Daniele Santarelli already has two gold medals in his pocket this season, after clinching gold on Women’s Club World Championship and winning the Italian cup.

As the summer is closing in and the new challenges await, Daniele Santarelli announced his plans for the next campaign with Croatia.

What are your thoughts on Croatia’s results at Tokyo European Qualifications in Apeldoorn?

We didn’t play at our best, even though I knew that the tournament in Apeldoorn will be tough. We wanted to play without pressure because we didn’t have anything to lose, only to gain more experience and knowledge. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to train for a long time, as we did in the past summer, so that was a bit of a problem for us.“

Croatia finishing last in the group, reality or bad performance, comparing to other national teams?

We must accept our result and try to work even harder to be prepared for the next time. Many of our opponents experienced this high level of competition before, as they played in VNL, World Championship or Olympic Games, as our girls needed time to adapt. Also, we had some problems with injuries that affected our performance.“

What are your expectations for this summer? First Golden European League than Challenger Cup in Zadar…

We know we must work hard to try and compete with the best teams in Europe. So far, the CEV Golden League is our level of competition, so we will treat every game as an opportunity for growth. Challenger Cup will be an amazing experience for all of us, and the possibility to play at home in Zadar will give us an extra motivation to try and win it.“

The Czech Republic, Finland and Slovakia. What are your thoughts on your opponents? Are you hoping for another Final Four of Golden League?

I know our opponents very well, we played with the Czech Republic twice the last summer, so I am sure that all the teams will be well prepared. Our group is tough because all the teams are at the same level, but I hope that with good preparation and a lot of training we can once again reach the Final Four.“

Can we expect some big changes in the team roster?

I don’t think I will change the roster so much, because there will be a short time to work and give all the players the time to assimilate my system. But after the Challenger Cup, I will give a chance to new and younger players to prove themselves, considering that we earned automatic qualification for the European Championship next summer.“

What do you think about Croatia co-hosting EuroVolley 2021.? How important is this for volleyball in Croatia?

The Croatian Volleyball Federation made a great effort to host the FIVB Challenger Cup and EuroVolley 2021., so for all of us involved it will be a great challenge and honor. I hope that hosting those top-level competitions in Croatia, will also lead to the growth of volleyball in Croatia. I cannot think of a better invitation for younger generations to embrace volleyball than to watch and support their national team in their own country.“

How difficult it is to manage both a club and a national team?

In my opinion, it isn’t very difficult because of the national team and the club work in two different moments of the season. I can only be proud that I am the coach of such an important club as the Imoco Volley Conegliano and of a country like Croatia, that wants to bring back the glorious days of Croatian volleyball. Of course, all the planning and the organization for both teams take a lot of my time, so I also have to take my family's needs into consideration.“

Croatian National Volleyball Federation has wished good luck and all the best to coach Santarelli, battling for CEV Champions League and defending his Seria A1 title, before returning to action with their national team.

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