Champions League - Jurcic replaces Cacic at Dinamo

Dinamo Zagreb have sacked coach Ante Cacic and replaced him with Krunoslav Jurcic who said he hoped for a long-term opportunity to build a side worthy of playing in European competition during his third spell in charge.

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Champions League - Jurcic replaces Cacic at Dinamo
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Dinamo Zagreb coach Krunoslav Jurcic looks on during their Champions League in 2011 (Reuters)

Jurcic won successive league titles and the national cup with Dinamo in 2009 and 2010 but was sacked months into his second tenure in 2011, following six successive Champions League defeats in the group stage.

"I am glad to be back because I always felt I had unfinished business here and having signed a two-year contract. I hope I will be able to stay between three and five years this time although that's an eternity at Dinamo," Jurcic told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We hit the ground hard when we crashed out of the Champions League last time but it takes time to build a team capable of making an impact in Europe and that's what I hope to do over two or three transfer windows and through a selection of players."

Dinamo have dominated Croatian football in the last 10 years and are well placed to win their eighth successive league title as they are eight points clear at the top of the 12-team first division halfway through the campaign.

Their domestic supremacy has failed to satisfy the appetites of success-hungry fans, who turned up in handfuls for this season's Champions League group matches at home.

Five successive defeats in Europe's premier club competition, in which Dinamo have failed to score, piled the pressure on Cacic and Sunday's 1-0 league defeat at bottom team NK Zagreb cost him his job.

Jurcic said his first priority was to instil a winning mentality in a dressing-room full of players used to being pushovers for European opposition.

"I told them in our first meeting prior to this press conference that the tough get going when the going gets tough," he said.

"They have to show character and the makings of a side capable of winning even when they are not playing their best football; it's up to them to adapt and change their mindsets because commitment is the key."

Dinamo are at home to city rivals Lokomotiva in the domestic championship on Friday and then entertain Dynamo Kiev in their final Champions League group match next Tuesday.

Little more than pride will be at stake for either side in the Group A clash as Dynamo Kiev are bound to finish third and carry on in the Europa League, while Dinamo are assured of propping up the group and making another early exit.

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