It may only be in review of Hearts’ recent performances will Daniel Stendel fully realise the task that lies in wait for him at Tynecastle.
The German has taken over in Gorgie following the sacking of Craig Levein in October. With the Jambos currently joint-bottom, work is needed quickly to ease lingering relegation fears around the club.
Hearts have had a cloud of darkness over them for a while now and on the pitch, Stendel has more than a few things that need addressed.
Stendel needs to make Hearts changes all over the park
A change in ideas and perhaps a change in identity is needed at Hearts. Stendel’s high-octane gegenpressing will likely come in for Levein’s more rigid physical style fans have become accustomed to.
Hearts have been hit and miss in the transfer market, but many of their 25 signings from over the past two seasons either haven’t been good enough and some have left already. Fresh faces are needed to lift the camp.
Where he signs them will be crucial. Whilst on paper the defence looks strong with the likes of Michael Smith and Craig Halkett, it’s severely lacking in pace. Against pacey opposition, some of the backline have been found out, forced into making fouls rather than ball-winning tackles.
Midfield also lacks a creative touch. Glenn Whelan and Andy Irving can play the gritty side of the game well but there’s not an equivalent to what Hibs have with Scott Allan at Tynecastle. A number ten with an eye for a pass or long-range strike is a must.
There’s too much reliance on Steven Naismith too. There’s no leadership without him further up the park and the striker department at the club failed to score as many league goals as him combined last term. With injury and age creeping up on him too, Hearts need to identify their future number nine.
This will be no overnight fix. Austin MacPhee’s interim reign of four defeats, a win and a draw laid bare the challenges Stendel will face in Gorgie. It’s over to the German now to work his magic.