VfB Stuttgart head-coach Pellegrino Matarazzo did his best to exude optimism, even after his side hovered just above the relegation zone following their ninth league defeat of the season.
For the club's American trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo and highly regarded sporting director Sven Mislintat, the strategy for slogging through the campaign has remained the same throughout the season: Stay the course, wait for injuries to clear up, and ride out the storm. Mislintat explicitly referenced this tactic in his post-match interview.
We have three or four players up our sleeve who know where the goal is," Mislintat said, referring to COVID-afflicted actors such as Silas and Wahid Faghir. Borna Sosa was also unable to play on Saturday and attacker Omar Marmoush is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Swabians have nevertheless not been able to benefit from the return of lead striker Sasa Kalajdzic yet. In two games since returning, the two-meter-tall Austrian center-forward has had trouble finding his groove again.
Matarazzo did his best to strike an optimistic tone afterward. RB Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi arguably robbed Kalajdzic on a pair of chances. Despite the fact that they lost their fourth consecutive league defeat without scoring a goal of their own, the VfB also outshot the visiting Saxons 16-7.
"We showed unity on the field against a strong opponent," Matarazzo noted, "Not everything was good, but it should only be a matter of time before we're good enough to start picking up points again."
"We will take this good performance with us to Freiburg," the American concluded.