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HEARTS APOLOGISED, CLAIMS AXED STENDEL

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DUMPED Daniel Stendel has revealed how he discovered his six-month reign as Hearts manager was over.

The German was axed by the Edinburgh outfit as they welcomed back Robbie Neilson for his second stint in charge at Tynecastle, as Scotzine reported.

Stendel, who saw the Gorgie club anchored at the foot of the Premiership four points adrift of Hamilton Accies when football went into cold storage in mid-March due to the coronavirus, pandemic, admitted he was surprised when he heard the news.

The former Barnsley gaffer, who replaced Craig Levein at the troubled outfit last year, admitted the club had apologised to him for delivering the decision while he was in his homeland.

Stendel, speaking to the German press and quoted in the Daily Record, said: “I found out about the appointment of a new manager on Sunday night.

“Communication was certainly not the best in this case, but since then several people have apologised to me. This does not damage the positive image I have of the club.”

Asked if he was angry to find out that Hearts had paid compensation to Dundee United despite him not accepting his wages since March, he answered: “Then I even paid for my successor!

“Seriously, I’m not going to look back. I made this decision with full conviction to support my club. I have no regrets about that. I am at peace with myself and the club.”

Stendel had a clause in his deal allowing either him or the club to terminate the agreement in the event of relegation, which is still pending with a legal challenge due.

He added: “When I signed the contract, I had already decided not to go into the Championship if the worst came to the worst.

“But since our relegation wasn’t under regular circumstances and, especially because I got to know Hearts as a really great club, I then offered, under certain conditions in terms of staff and philosophy, to stay, anyway.

“However, this became increasingly unlikely lately, the things mentioned could not be fulfilled and there were simply too many question marks. For example, nobody knows when games can start again. Maybe in October, but you definitely don’t want to start without fans.

“I started at Hearts in December which certainly wasn’t a good time to begin. We had four defeats from the first five games.

“But we changed the style, improved the points deficit and saw a positive trend. I was convinced we would stay up after the split. There were 24 points left to play for and we were only four points behind.

“I’m sure we could have done it, but, unfortunately, we will never know now.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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