Nikola Grbi hears a question about Wilfredo Leon. A definite answer is given

Nikola Grbić was hired as the coach of Polish volleyball players with the Olympic Games in Paris in mind, but it was obvious that he would not avoid the expectations of this year’s world championships. All the more so because the Polish team joined them as winners of the two previous editions, and due to the war in Ukraine, the event was moved from Russia to Poland and Slovenia. The Serb did not make any specific declarations. After reaching the final, he stated that regardless of the result of this match, he is very proud of his players. After losing 1: 3 to Italy, however, he felt a disappointment that still lingers.

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“Maybe in a week or two I will be able to enjoy it”

“I thought I would feel better today, but I don’t.” Even if the World Cup final itself is a success. I am disappointed not because of our play, but because after we played before and in what style we made it to the final, I was convinced we would win. At this point, I feel like a boxer after knockout, but it will probably change in a few weeks. Maybe in a week or two I will be able to enjoy it – sums up Grbić.

Observing his players as they stepped onto the podium on Sunday evening, he noticed their disappointment. He immediately assures you that this is normal in a situation like this.

– We played really well, we wanted it very much and we had a lot of support from the audience. I don’t want to say that the Italians played perfectly, but for sure very well. We ran out of freshness. I think we lost too much energy in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals (the Polish team won 3-2 with the USA and Brazil – editor’s note). I am not talking only about the physical aspect, but also the emotional aspect – he analyzes.

The Serb – seeing that his players have difficulties with opposing their rivals, made many changes. you will cut Kaczmarek he successfully replaced Bartosz Kurek, but neither he nor other reserves managed to help in stopping the team from Italy.

– I saw that some of my players have difficulties. I just wanted them to cool down a bit. It’s frustrating when you play your best but you win. And it was visible in the fourth set – we attacked, put pressure on it, but it didn’t help. It’s hard to play under these circumstances. The rivals were stronger, and we need patience in matches with such opponents – says the coach.

Grbić heard a question about Wilfredo Leon

Before and during the World Cup, the personal choices he made were discussed many times. The loudest was when Wilfredo Leona gave up on the final straight. The host underwent surgery at the beginning of June and fought until the last minute for a place in the line-up for this season’s target event. Grbić, however, decided that the player from Cuba would not make it on time time. It was to be expected that in the absence of a gold medal, the coach would hear a question about this decision, and it was so.

– There were moments in the finals when Bartosz Kurek – who is experienced, healthy, physically well prepared and coped with such situations a million times – had problems. Alexander liwka and Marcin Janusz the same, everyone. And they were well prepared physically and emotionally and played together for four months. I am calm about this decision. I don’t think we have done anything wrong in this regard, declares the Serb.

“Everyone is a general after the war.” Grbić urged volleyball players not to read comments about themselves

Leon was not the only one absent whose name had appeared many times in recent months in the context of vocations. Grbić resigned, among others of the two key players in recent years, i.e. Michał Kubiak and Fabian Drzyzga. Now he does not intend to return to the assessment of these elections.

– I am not able to do anything about the expectations of others. Someone doesn’t like me because they think they should play Kubiak, Fabian, Leon or Piotr Nowakowski. Someone asks why Karol Butyn was at the final tournament of the League of Nations and not at the World Cup. Why this and that. (…) My job is to make my players play the best volleyball possible. Maybe Italy would have won gold with Ivan Zaytsev in the squad. I don’t know, but they decided to play without him and now they are world champions – he points out.

He assures that before making the final decision, he thought a lot about individual candidates, talked to everyone and tried to look at the matter from many different angles.

– But once the decision has been made, it’s over – there is no going back, no time to regret, nothing can be changed. So what’s the point? Of course, everyone is a general after the war. Everyone is wise after the fact. Let’s take part in the lottery when the winning numbers are already known – ironies the Polish coach.

He also adds that the volleyball players who presented themselves in the national team this year deserve praise for what they did. He praises them for how they presented themselves throughout the season. It also ensures that everyone has developed individually. He also returns to the topic of pressure raised before the start of the World Cup and during them. The Serb then caused a stir among journalists and fans when he called for not criticizing his players after weaker performances.

– Journalists are looking for news, they want to open a discussion on a topic. Should Leon be called, or plum should play, not Tomasz Fornal, etc. It’s not that I take away someone’s right to doubt, but one thing is to have them, and the other is to write an article about it. After that, the affected players can read it and the comments underneath. I tell them all the time – try not to think about it, because such comments are usually rude. All these people do not understand many things, do not have enough information to understand the situation in a wider perspective – he recalls.

He reminds that he worked with some of the team before, when he ran Grupa Azoty Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle for two years.

“I know how many of them think so I tried to protect them.” I won’t tell them how to proceed, but I advised them to read these comments and not check on social media to see if they are liked or not. Because you read about yourself that you are not good enough or that you should do this or that. Even if some of them are very experienced, something like this is not easy. I tried to protect them, but I am not able to do much here – emphasizes Grbić.

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