A quiet word with Ange Postecoglou
Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou is determined to back up a Premiership-Championship double with an improved A-League season in 2011-12. He spoke with Sportal's Liam Daly.
Record-breaking Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou is determined to back up a Premiership-Championship double with an improved Hyundai A-League season in 2011-12.
Following an untroubled 3-0 pre-season win over Brisbane Premier League club Eastern Suburbs, he spoke with Liam Daly about his plans for taking the club to the next level.
Q: How's pre-season been so far and how are the boys tracking to reproduce the efforts of last season?
AP: We've still got a long way to go, but we're building up slowly. That was our fourth game and we're getting some good minutes into the boys and just tracking along steadily. I'm happy with the way they're progressing so far.
Q: Is there any hangover from last season lingering? Is it hard to get down to work and stay motivated to improve after the success the club has had?
AP: I don't think there's any hangover. I think the players are well and truly focused on this year now. We're really looking forward to taking our game to another level, so the challenge is there. I don't think anything from the past is going to be an issue for us.
Q: Last season Brisbane was able to produce a brand of football that people didn't think was possible for an Australian club. Can you manage the same kind of improvement to stay ahead of the pack this year?
AP: We have to take it to another level. Our whole focus from day one of pre-season is that we want to play better this year than we did last year. In terms of results, we never know what that's going to be. But from our point of view, if we can play better than we did last year, it means that we'll be in the mix again. That's our focus. We want to raise the standard of our own play. If we keep working like that, we'll be there or there abouts.
Q: How is the roster shaping up for this season?
AP: We're always looking. We don't have a lot of room. The key thing for us was to re-sign the bulk of last year's squad. You look at the history of the A-league and I think to repeat your success or to give yourself a chance, you've really got to keep the squad intact. We were never going to make major changes. We made one or two signings. We'll make a couple more before the start of the season. But certainly, from our point of view, the most important thing is that we've got the bulk of last year's squad here again.
Q: As good as Brisbane were in losing just once last season, there's still a feeling that some players in your squad who are yet to meet their full potential. Is there anyone in particular who you feel is ready for a breakout season in 2011-12?
AP: Everyone has to go up another level. Matty McKay took his game to another level last season, so there's no real restrictions or age limits to that. Definitely the likes of Mitch (Nichols), but even some of the more established players - Matt Smith, Kosta Barbarouses - even the guys that have been playing regularly I expect them to improve this year. And the guys on the outside, Brattsy (Luke Bratten), James Meyer, all these guys, they get an opportunity to step up as well. It's about improving everyone not just individuals.
Q: So there aren't any individuals you're challenging to elevate?
AP: It's down to the whole squad. Even Matty (McKay) has got to take his game to another level. He did it last year and he can do it again this year. There's no reason to stop all that. Improvement only stops when you stop working hard. From our point of view, even with people like Thomas Broich, he's had a year in the A-League now, and we want him to get better. We're working hard to make sure that happens.
Q: The Club has had a strong representation in the Olyroos with four players - Mitch Nichols, Matt Jurman, Andrew Redmayne and Rocky Visconte - selected. Have you been keeping an eye on their progress in that side?
AP: It's been a little bit disruptive for us, but it's good the boys are involved. From reports, they're all doing well. We'll be keen to get them back once they're finished their commitments. We haven't really had (Sydney FC signing) Matty Jurman in yet, so it's important we get him in as early as possible and get him adjusted to the way we play. I'm pleased they're going well and I'll be happy when they're back.
Q: You open the season with a highly anticipated grand final replay at Suncorp Stadium against the Central Coast Mariners. Has there been any attention directed towards that match yet or is it still too far away for specific planning?
AP: It's a long way off. Not at the moment. I think it's important in our preseason that we just truck along nice and steadily. If you start looking too far ahead it is a long preseason, so from our point of view, we've just been focusing week to week and it seems to be working well so far. I'm sure once we get closer to the first round, we'll have a massive build-up. It'll be a fantastic fixture. Hopefully we get a massive crowd at Suncorp again and get the season off to a good start.
Q: Speaking of massive crowds, you're getting plenty of good support in these pre-season matches and the grand final last year was a really special day with a Suncorp sell-out. Are you expecting a significant boost in crowd figures this season?
AP: It's been great. Every game we've played in the pre-season, we've had fantastic support. We want to get big numbers this year for sure. We've got two big games to start the season with at home, so we've got to get off to a good start, and I'm sure the people will come out.
Q: People are saying there must be something in the water at Ballymore. Have you been following how well the Reds have been going and do the two clubs have much to do with each other?
AP: The Reds are flying at the moment. The Broncs are not going too bad. The Firebirds were undefeated. Hopefully it's the year of the Queenslanders. I'm wrapped for them. It's been good to share our training facility with (the Reds), because they're a young team, they were expected to do well this year, a bit like us. They've taken the competition by surprise. Those kinds of things are always good to associate with.
Q: Half your team seems to have caught the Twitter bug. The Roar fans are wondering when, if ever, they'll see the coach get involved?
AP: Never. It's not my style. I'm a fairly private person. At least I can keep track of what the players are doing. What they're eating and where they are. I'll never enter that twittersphere. It took me a long time just to answer my emails.