“The defeat against Ferencvaros felt like a punch in the face”

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INTERVIEW – Denisa Dedu felt the pressure to perform from the day she joined CSM Bucuresti.

However, she also realizes that she needs this kind of stress to be her best, as she reveals in this exclusive interview with stregspiller.com.

By Peter Bruun

By the time Denisa Stefania Dedu decided to transfer to CSM Bucuresti she was well aware, that she would join a club, which expects to win every time the team enters the court.  She has felt that pressure ever since leaving Siófok, her former club.

“Of course, there is some pressure, as we are a team that is supposed to win all the time.

“I also need a certain kind of pressure, as it motivates me to do my best.

“We are a team consisting of some very good and talented players.  So, it’s normal that we are expected to succeed and to win titles.

“In the end, we are professional handball players and we should be able to handle this kind of pressure and I think we do,” the 25-year-old goalkeeper tells stregspiller.com.

So far, her first season with CSM has been turbulent.  Poor results in the Champions League and in the domestic league already led to the premature departure of coach Tomas Ryde, but lately, things seem to have calmed down at CSM, now that Adi Vasile is in charge.

Following a shocking 33:23 defeat in Hungary against FTC after the winter break, CSM came back with an impressive 32:27 win at home against Metz and the upward trend continued with a remarkable victory against Vipers Kristiansand, last Saturday.

In Norway, CSM were trailing 11:6 after 30 minutes before securing a 25:23 win after a stunning comeback in the last minutes of the match.

A punch in the face

“The defeat against Ferencvaros (FTC, ed.) felt like a punch in the face.

“We were shocked that we could perform so poorly, but fortunately, we were able to rise against Metz.

“Maybe it was this particular performance that lifted us against Vipers. We definitely did not have a good start in this match either as we were five goals down at one point.

“However, we were confident that we would be able to come back and in the end we did just that. Maybe, it was our fine game against Metz that gave us such good moral,” says Dedu, who played an important role in her team´s two most recent Champions League victories.

“I think my performance has been okay. Especially, against Vipers our defense improved along the way and so did I.  I was very happy to help my team to come back from behind,” explains Denisa Dedu.  Yet, she has no doubts about CSM’s key player in the last two matches – Cristina Neagu.

The queen of Romanian handball needed quite some time before returning to form after a long injury break.  But, in the last two games, she has returned to former greatness.  14 goals in each match – 28 in total says it all.

“Of course, Cristina is the key to our recent success. She is the leader of the team and we really need her to be at her best.

“I am so happy for her that she is back and, of course, our team benefits when she’s on fire.

“I am impressed that she has been able to come back so strong from yet another injury.  Actually, she may be better than ever.”

Long way to go

With Neagu back on track, Denisa Dedu feels that CSM are finally heading in the right direction.  Still, they are only in fourth place in their Champions League main round group.  Finishing in this position could mean two matches against mighty Györ in the quarter-final, assuming that Brest Bretagne do not grab the group win instead of the Hungarian powerhouse.

“Of course, we are not only fighting to qualify for a spot in the quarter-finals, but also look to get in best possible position.

“Obviously, everyone wants to avoid Györ in the quarter-final, but if we have to meet them there, so be it.  We simply have to try and beat them at this stage already,” confirms Dedu, who has no regrets after leaving Siófok, where she spent two years.

“I went back to Romania because I felt that I needed a change after winning the EHF Cup and the bronze medal in the Hungarian league, last season.

“Accepting the offer from CSM wasn’t a problem. It felt like coming home. After all, my family lives here and everyone who knows me.

“Furthermore, I wanted to play the Champions League. After all, that’s entirely different compared to the EHF Cup.

“Yes – it’s true that we have had some ups and downs this season, but this can partially be explained by several injuries that we had to deal with during this season.

“We still face some challenges, but I definitely feel that we are on the right track, now.”

Yearning for revenge

The Women´s Champions League is taking a break this coming weekend, but on Friday, February 21st, CSM will be hosting FTC in a match that could take CSM already to the quarter-final if some other results go their way as well.

Denisa Dedu and her teammates are already looking forward to avenge the 10-goal loss from the first meeting in the Hungarian  capital.

“This will be a very special match.

“As I said earlier, the defeat there felt like a punch in the face and we are definitely eager to do better this time around.

“I am sure we can play and fight much better next time we meet and then we will have to see where it takes us in the ranking,” she explains.

Lifting the Champions League trophy

To win the Champions League is one of the primary goals for CSM.  So far, they have succeeded once – in 2016, in their maiden season in the competition.

For Denisa Dedu, lifting the Champions League trophy is the ultimate dream and trading last year’s EHF Cup for the Champions League title would just be perfect.

“I came to CSM to play the Champions League – obviously it’s also my wish to win the Champions League with the club.

“Once you are in the quarter-final, you are only two games away from the FINAL4 and once you are in the FINAL4, anything can happen. We have seen it so many times before.

“So, yes, my biggest dream is to win the Champions League and why not this year already,” asks Denisa Dedu?

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