Although with rejuvenated team and new players, Vardar still holds the primate in the Champions' and the SEHA Gazprom League. At the end of the year, when we look at the results achieved in the first part of the 2018/19 season, the red-black team is the leader in the regional championship and 2nd ranked in the Champions' League group phase.
* How will you remember 2018?
"This year was somehow my first full year as a coach, although I started in 2017 with the women's team, but in 2018 we played the F4 in the Champions' League, and unfortunately, we lost with one goal in the final. Then I started with the men's team and I think that my best memories of this period are related to my work with the team."
* Were you a bit surprised when you received the invitation to be a coach of the men's team of Vardar?
"Of course, I was a little surprised. We knew that Raul was leaving the squad as early as November, and many names were mentioned as his replacement, but when Sergei offered me the position, it was a great surprise. I did not think long about the offer, because if someone asks you to be coach of Vardar you simply accept. It was easy for me to say YES. And then, after signing the contract, you start thinking about how you will work and organize yourself."
* You played the F4 with the women's team, how different it is and is it harder to work with the men's team or the women's team?
"Men and women are certainly different. If some things are normal for women, that does not apply to men. However, you have to accept some things. Women may have some traditional ways of playing or stretching. But handball is a handball, and that should certainly work. It was easy for me to work with the women's team. There were some other difficulties, since it was the last year with that team."
You are first ranked with Vardar men's team in the SEHA League and second in the Champions' League. Have you fulfilled club's expectations after the first part?
"The most important thing is to think about one match at a time and prepare gradually, not to think what will happen in May or June. We had problems with injuries, which really affected us. Before the start of the season, Vardar was not on the ranking list, and the players talked about it and wanted to show that it was a mistake. That is why we had a great start of the season."
* The team lately seems a little tired, but they won all matches as planned.
"In the last match of the SEHA League in Bucharest, we played without 8 players. That's not the best team. In the last three matches we wanted to give everyone a chance, because fatigue was obvious. The season is long, and we need all the players. We should think of the team to be able to withstand the entire season and win."
* What was the most difficult this year?
"To prepare the game in defence. Some of the defence players left, and the newcomers did not play in those places. Therefore, all the things had to be harmonized and we had to find a place for every player. We wanted everyone to be ready as soon as possible. And I think we did it well, although you always have to work."
* Which match did you get most irritated with?
"All matches are difficult. I remember when playing with Montpellier the first match this season, and everyone was excited to play with the champion of Europe. But it was more anxiety than excitement. And then in the match with Kristianstad, things fell into place. In all matches you need to think how you will play. Some are more excited, and some more nervous."
* There were many problems with injuries of some players. Would it have been different if Vardar was complete?
"You never know. But with more players available, we would certainly have had more options for playing. There were many situations when one did not play well in attack, but we needed him and therefore he had to play."
* Now, with the men, are you on the right track to get far in the Champions League. How much power do these players have?
"Surely enough. It is difficult to think ahead of the matches and it will be difficult if we do not train enough. We are also in a difficult group. In some matches we did not play well for various reasons. Now we have to prepare well for the season's continuation."
* What does your usual working day look like?
"We have training in the morning, and after I go to the gym, where I do not think of anything. Then we watch a video, I'm preparing the training session, which lasts about two hours, and then another two hours of training. Then you come home, and you have a little more time to relax with your family."
* You're constantly with your computer, doing analysis, watching videos of opponents.
"I do not want to analyze all the time. I do not enjoy it, but I know that I have to do it. It's better to prepare four matches than three, and you have more information. I always want to prepare the best I can. Some players need more information when preparing, and some less. That's why we need to have more analyzes."
*What do you do in your free time?
"I want to use it with my family. We go for a walk with the children, at the cinema, for dinner. I want to be with my family because then I do not think about handball."
* What is your wish for 2019?
" I want to achieve a good result on the WC in Germany with the Macedonian national team and then to continue with Vardar where we stopped. The most important thing is to be all healthy and play the best we can."