Hearts: Daniel Stendel says he gives 'every player respect'

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel takes training
Daniel Stendel is preparing his side for a Scottish Cup tie

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has rejected Christophe Berra's claim that he did not treat him with respect when stripping him of the captaincy.

The German has also been criticised by midfielder Glenn Whelan and coach Jon Daly after their exits from Tynecastle.

Stendel says he is simply trying to "do the best for this club".

"It maybe looks bad from the outside, but we try to give every player respect and find the best way for both sides," he said.

"You will find in every club, every decision, it's not really the case that both sides are happy."

Hearts sit five points behind Hamilton Academical at the foot of the Scottish Premiership and Stendel has yet to record a win in his five games in charge.

He has banished winger Jake Mulraney and forward Craig Wighton to train with the reserves along with centre-half Berra and told them to find new clubs.

"I know everything he has done for this club and we give him respect and we also want to give him the chance to find his best way," Stendel said of the former Scotland defender.

"He is an experienced player, but the feeling is he won't play so much in the second half of the season.

"What can I do? Well, I can speak with him and give him the chance to decide what is the best. He is experienced enough to say 'I want to play, I want to do this'. This is what we tried to do with him.

"In the end, it's his decision, I gave him the chance to think about this and he wants to do it."

Republic of Ireland veteran Whelan described the club as "amateurish" after his contract was terminated, while Daly also branded Stendel "embarrassing" after the German claimed Andy Kirk was the only coach he inherited that he trusted to work with him.

"I have no bad talk with Jon Daly," Stendel said. "I hear a lot of things saying it was bad, but nobody talked with me and, in our situation, we are doing everything OK with Jon Daly and Glenn Whelan.

"I spoke with Christophe Berra. I understand his situation, but I hope he understands our situation. The first half of the season was not good and we need to change things."

One player Stendel does not want to lose is Aaron Hickey amid a media report that AC Milan are interested in the 17-year-old left-back.

"It's good when our player, especially in our situation, can play so well that other clubs are interested," the manager said. "But we want to keep all the players that we need and this is 100% Hickey."

Stendel hopes to have a player signed before the weekend Scottish Cup tie against Airdrieonians but admits: "We cannot bring players in when we have so many. We cannot train with 25-26, it's too much."

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