Sparta lacks a leader in the midfield, Karabec must step up, says Straka

Sparta footballers started the new season in the worst possible way. They were eliminated in the opening preliminary round of the European Conference League, and in the first round of the Fortuna League, they were not enough at home to Liberec. According to Nova Sport expert František Straka, Sparta mainly lacks a leader in the midfield, which could be solved by the return of Ladislav Krejčí Jr. In an exclusive interview for, he talked about the current situation at the Letenská club.

It’s a pretty sad situation. The goal was Europe, which unfortunately failed. It was not even possible to enter the competition. It’s a big disappointment” says František Straka after Sparta’s very unsuccessful entry into the season.If you don’t beat Viking Stavanger in two games, then you have nothing to do in Europe. This should definitely not happen. In addition, Sparta should play in the Europa League or the Champions League, as we knew it before,” adds the experienced coach, who experienced the most prestigious club competition in the world in the Leten club as a player and as a coach.

When I heard the interviews of the players before the season, they all promised one thing – that they would play all over the tempo with the use of pressing and repressing, but you don’t see much of that. That’s quite surprising to me. What good is that to you against teams that are holed up. And if you don’t have the space for it. There has to be a plan B. Sparta is under pressure, but it is not that they are getting into any trouble. There were jams, that’s nice, but there are no tutoks,” observes the four-time winner of the Czechoslovak league. “I don’t want to say it’s a blanket, because it’s the beginning of the season, but these three games clearly showed the problems Sparta has. Sparta lacks a leader. She misses players who communicate on the pitch, have heart and want to fight,” he added.

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​In comparison to the rematch in Norway, Priske made only one change in the lineup – Mejdr replaced Wiesner. That didn’t help much either. In addition, key players such as Pešek and Haraslín do not live up to expectations. “If you don’t have wing players, then Honza Kuchta is completely useless. The second question is why Tomáš Čvančara is not playing and the diamond in the 4–4–2 setup is not being tried. The matches with Viking showed that if the opponent builds a bus against Sparta, crawls to the box and waits for mistakes, then it will turn out like this,” says Magpie.

It seems to me that the coach is still looking for the optimal composition of the team, the first eleven. He himself probably imagined it completely differently, but the players who should be the supports are not. Perhaps only Jarda Zelený deserves a discharge, who meets the expectations with which Sparta bought him,” Straka singled out the player who scored the only goal against Viking and impressed with his performance in the midfield in the second half with Liberec.

However, according to Straka, Sparta’s biggest problem is in the midfield. “There has to be someone on the field to bang it. There must come an impulse that would start everything around it. I really hope that this will change with Krejčí’s return. He is a predator who can give Sparta that impetus. At the moment I don’t see any player in midfield who should pull it,” evaluates the native of České Budějovice, who has 35 national team starts to his credit.

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​The role of a key player is not yet fulfilled by Adam Karabec, who was supposed to replace Bořek Dočkal at the number ten position. “Adam is getting chances and he should grab them by the scruff of the neck. If he performs like this, he may end up in a similar situation as last season, when he didn’t play. It is a question whether the position of an under-the-line player that he plays suits him, or if he should not rather start from the side. He played there and I liked him very much. He got along well with Adam Hložek, who unfortunately is no longer here,” says Magpie.

According to Straka, Sparta also has a problem at the goalkeeper post. “I didn’t understand one thing. Why did Sparta get rid of Nita so suddenly? He was absolutely the best of all the goalkeepers. I am not saying that they are bad goalkeepers, but the goalkeeper would always be the basic building block of Sparta together with the stoppers, the central midfielder and the striker. That was the axis on which it was built. Goalkeepers also give confidence to the forwards, because if you have a fighter in the goal who is sovereign and confident, then you also play well. They don’t have this in Sparta at the moment. That’s why I ask what happened to Nita,” concluded the experienced coach.

Sparta announced the name of the new captain. But he is now on the dole:

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