Kramarić confident of what is to come after strong showing with Croatia

Andrej Kramarić, man of the match in Croatia's 3-0 win over Northern Ireland, spoke to the media following a fine individual and team performance.

The Croatian forward has been in fine form this season and carried that into this game, topping off an inspired showing with a 25-yard laser-guided effort into the top corner.

With a strong start to the campaign, both domestically and internationally, the 25-year-old has plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.

Plenty of plaudits

"We have to be satisfied. If you play an away game or a friendly game, it doesn't matter. It's a tough game against Northern Ireland," Kramarić said. Croatia had just beaten Iceland 2-0 in a vital FIFA World Cup qualifier, sending them top of their group with 10 points from four games.

However, without Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim attacker was more than pleased with how the side played, "It was a big step for us without five or six of the most important players in the side. The young, talented players showed that we can put in a good performance on the pitch and in the end, we have to celebrate this."

Kramarić was impressive throughout and, stunning goal aside, made a telling contribution in the link up play and also delivered the corner for the second goal. He added, "Before the game, I thought it was going to be a hard, hard game. We have to be happy with the team performance and the goal and we have to keep working like this."

Keen to build on a solid start

While things have been going better than many people expected in Sinsheim, it hasn't been quite as smooth in Leicester. Though Kramarić was full of praise for the Foxes, "I am very happy in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim right now, especially after the start. I have to say also with Leicester, because this was a fantastic season and a fantastic story."

Kramarić didn't feature much for the reigning Premier League Champions, managing just 596 minutes for Claudio Ranieri's side. "I regret it a little bit because I didn't play too much. On the other hand, I don't regret it as I played with the best team that season in the Premier League, we won the title and these are fantastic memories for me," he added.

Yet the versatile forward from Zagreb was keen to focus on the here and the now, "For now I am enjoying things in the Bundesliga, I am playing very well and I just hope that I can stay fit and that we and I can play how we have played before and we can keep on this winning path."

"He is going to be one of the best coaches in the world"

The comparisons between Hoffenheim and Leicester were drawn by Kramarić, who arrived when both weren't at the top of their game: "The start last season, when I came, the whole season, Hoffenheim were not in the best situation. I could say that it was almost a similar situation at Leicester when I went there two years ago."

That all turned around with the inspired decision to appoint Julian Nagelsmann, "Of course he gave us young, positive energy. He is a great coach and I have to say, he is going to be one of the best coaches in the world in the next few years. I don't know when but of course he is young. His training and in the games he is showing it, he's great."

Kramarić spoke highly of the 29-year-old and his "young, positive energy". Understandably, he is keen for things to continue as they have been:

"This is very important for us because when you feel the energy of the coach then you have to give your best on the pitch and this formula is good for us. We are in a good way at the moment and I hope we will continue and maybe we can have the best season in the history of the club."

Keeping it going

With a tough run of games until Christmas, the Croat remains confident: "Hoffenheim have never been in the top teams [in terms of European places] in the Bundesliga. Right now we are at this level, and I think the hardest thing is to keep on this line and keep at this level because everyone knows this is the hardest thing to do."

Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Köln all lie in wait before the Winter Break, "I believe in myself, in my team and in the coach and that we can have a good year; like how we believed before in Leicester."