„Constantine is the difference” – Bálint Magosi on Fehérvár's sensational season
The final against Salzburg crowns the sensational season of Volán. We asked the team's returning forward, Bálint Magosi, about everything that has happened so far, the obsession of head coach Kevin Constantine, who has slowly broken all club records, and, of course, how he slipped from the first line to the fourth.
|Bálint Magosi (right) and János Hári's goal joy (Photo: Csaba Dömötör)|
– You've returned to your former club after a long time. What was the experience like?
– It is already luck that Fehérvár contacted me at all, but knowing almost everyone there made the switch easier, so I was quickly accepted – recalled Hydro Fehérvár AV19 and the Hungarian national team's experienced forward, Bálint Magosi. – Our five consecutive victories at the beginning of the season were just the icing on the cake, creating an incredibly positive atmosphere. In addition, our head coach, Kevin Constantine, is rigorous when it comes to following tactical instructions but he is also an extremely straightforward person who handles every situation in an exemplary way.
– How did you deal with the first ups and downs when you ran into a four-match losing streak?
– He is obsessed with statistics and undeniable facts. He made everyone aware that it is not that the opponent washed us off the rink, we simply did not take advantage of our opportunities, and the opponent kept scoring the so-called dirty goals. We have meticulously analyzed what we need to change, and we have been able to change them.
– Is he the meticulous type?
– Totally. Before the season, for example, he came up to me and told me that he did not want to see silly penalties because I had been sitting in the penalty box for quite a few minutes before and had been banned several times. To avoid them in the future, he wrote a guide that showed us how to skate next to our opponents, hold the stick in the meantime, how high we can raise it, and at the beginning of the season, he had us take a test of these. I owe him a debt of gratitude for this – because how would it look like if I had a hundred and more penalty minutes?! It was time for me to really start playing hockey. Back to Constantine... He draws our attention to the smallest details, he does an amazing job with his staff, and we only have one thing to do: to do what he asks of us. If we look at our season, I think it's unquestionable that it worked. He himself is the difference compared to the last few years.
– How has your role changed with time?
– At the beginning of the season, I was in line with János Hári and Anze Kuralt. It was an honor that our coach thought that I was fit for the first line despite me being 32 years old. Back then, I was given the task of opening up space for Hari and Kuralt as a classic power forward instead of earning points and scoring goals. Then my third son was born, so I didn't go on a tournament with the team, and then I got the coronavirus. That's when Brady Shaw replaced me, and he's been earning points non-stop ever since, and our starting first line is fierce. It's a quality change!
– Not at all! The truth is that when I signed my contract, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd have anything to do with the first line! As fourth liners, we are sent on the ice to try to create something great, but our real mission is to keep the result. I put my head down and do what I'm asked. I am considered an experienced player in Hungary, so I can help the youngsters who are fortunately curious about my opinion – according to our second coach Dávid Kiss, they are my obedient little boys. Joking aside, this role is also not foreign to me.
– You still scored a lot of points, especially in the semifinal matches against Villach.
– Yes, but I can't tell you how many exactly. I don't care about this part, I just want to win!
– I didn't think about it, but I was aware that we had a strong squad with huge potential, and all I had to ask was whether our coaches can exploit that? I think I don't need to explain the answer. But I don't want to portray ourselves as emperors of the world, especially since the biggest challenge is still ahead of us: we have to defeat Salzburg.– What are the odds?
– Exceptional players make up Red Bull, it will not be a walk in the park at all, but it is also not an impossible mission. We lost to them three times in the regular season, but we won once, so we can say with certainty that they are not invincible. If anyone, this squad, can prevail!
– How is the preparation going?
– We players are given two days off on Saturday and Sunday. The coaching staff is constantly analyzing Salzburg to get a grip on them to prepare us accordingly on Monday, as it also happened against Val Pusteria and Villach. We already know that we can expect a vigorous but combinative hockey game.
(Translated by: Vanda Orosz)