By Bugra Uzar/ Buzar@eurohoops.net
This was not one of his trademarked outbursts, but rather the acceptance that things with Fenerbahce this year don’t go as planned. “You may have bad days”, he explained, “but there should be no moments when we don’t fight. Some of my players haven’t even fought today. I told them in the dressing room, and I am not afraid to repeat here. I have a responsibility as a coach. We have to respect the people here who have helped us with everything in seven years. These people do not deserve to watch this image tonight. We all have limits. But if you give up after a few minutes, this is very bad. This is my feeling tonight. I’m so sorry because our fans don’t deserve to watch this image”.
According to Obradovic, at this point, the problem at his team is mental: “I don’t want to go into details, but we played without concentrations. Without motivation, there is no concentration. You need to know what you are playing for. On the timeout, I said to my players, ‘If you don’t respect yourself, respect the people here.’ I said this on the last timeout. I will always be on the side of my players. They are my players. They gave a lot to this club. We won another cup three days ago. But the problem seems to be that this is considered normal. Winning a trophy seems to be normal, but some people have to realize that it’s not like that and have to respect. Because it is not easy to win trophies. Playing for the top in three competitions is not an easy task. But that’s not the excuse of this match because Real Madrid also plays in three competitions”.
The example that Obradovic used to demonstrate how bad things are was simple: “I’m going back to the first game in Madrid, We played without Vesely, Lauvergne, Malcolm and Ahmet played for three minutes. But we won the rebounds. Tonight they got 38 rebounds, and we got 20. What is rebounding? Want more? You have to go there and fight. They got 11 offensive rebounds. Do they show the motivation for this match? I think it’s 100%. We prepared the match in a completely different way than we played today. This is not an excuse. I don’t blame my players. Perhaps the method I prepared them for the match was not correct. After the first half, everything was very clear to me. Very simple. The first player we wanted to stop was Carroll. He scored 20. It’s really hard to talk. We played a lot of games in the EuroLeague this year, but we lost in the closing seconds, you could see the team fighting there. But this was completely different. A few minutes after the start, some players quit. They were not interested in what was going on in the field. It was very bad to be on the bench and watch it. What more motivation do we need? Why are we doing this? Nobody came out and coached me. I am willingly here. I think my players thing the same. We have a lot of games, but Real Madrid also plays a lot. Our work is very difficult until the end of the season. It’s very, very difficult. I can’t see that we can do something in the EuroLeague. Someone can criticize how I speak as a coach. But I’m the last to give up. I am the last person to say such a thing. If anyone has to say that I am not doing my job well, I am not motivated, let him come. I know what my team and I are doing.”
Fenerbahce with an 11-14 record still has strong playoffs chances, however so far, the team is not performing as it did in recent season, and even if they make it to the playoffs, they can’t be considered a contender until proven otherwise.