Hearts' Christophe Berra says first four league games crucial for Ian Cathro's side

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Christophe Berra: 'Responsibility lies on the players'

Club captain Christophe Berra says the first four league games of the season are "make or break" for Hearts.

Pressure is mounting on head coach Ian Cathro after the Edinburgh side were knocked out of the League Cup.

And, with work continuing on the main stand at Tynecastle, Hearts' first four Premiership games are away to Celtic, Kilmarnock, Rangers and Motherwell.

"These games make you or break you and hopefully they're going to be the making of us," Berra said.

The 32-year-old reckons that, following a tough week in the League Cup. there is "no better game to bounce back" in than away to champions Celtic on Saturday.

A 2-1 defeat at Peterhead was followed by a 2-2 home draw with Dunfermline Athletic, with the Pars winning the penalty shootout and the bonus point that came with it.

The Gorgie fans vented their anger towards Cathro at the end of Saturday's match and Berra revealed that the players had a frank exchange in the dressing-room at full time.

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro
Ian Cathro faced the anger of the Hearts fans at the end of the match against Dunfermline

"It's not the result we wanted and we had a few harsh words afterwards for 10-15 minutes between the players, which was needed," the summer signing from Ipswich Town revealed.

"Sometimes, if you let it lie, you come back into training and everything is rosy again, nothing is said.

"So sometimes you're better saying things in the heat of the moment in the changing-room after games. I said a few things, a few other boys and the manager did too."

Berra, who was also at Hearts from 2003-09, says the players are backing head coach Cathro and the Scotland international reckons the 31-year-old is the man to take the club forward.

'The responsibility lies on the players'

But he knows the pressure is on the man who took over in December last year and guided Hearts to a fifth-place finish in the Premiership.

"At the end of the game, the fans weren't happy, first and foremost, and the players can sense that," Berra said.

"It's not just on the manager, it's the players as well, we're not getting results. We're the ones who cross that white line.

"We're the ones on the pitch, not taking chances or making mistakes that lose the game. So, in the end, the responsibility lies on the players and we need to do better as well.

"I wasn't here when he was revealed as manager, but a lot of press has been on his back, but he won't be the only one or the last one - that's football and I'm sure the manager is big enough to take that on the chin and move on."

Cathro is in his first job as team boss, with the former Dundee United youth coach having been assistant Rio Ave, Valencia and Newcastle United.

"It's a lot of pressure," added Berra. "If you're a footballer or a manager, if things are not going well, you're going to get stick. That's the way it is.

"Scotland is a small country, but there is a lot of media and that's the way it is - it's the nature of the beast.

"The only way we're going to win the fans over is by winning games, starting the season well and doing the best we can."

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