Durakovic must stamp his authority

Talk of sacking is premature but it's time the Victory coach proved who's in control of the team.

As a player, it-s never a nice feeling when your coach is under pressure because it the team-s not performing and getting results.

The players' confidence in their coach is massive. They sense if they-re playing for someone that has confidence and belief in their own ability. The flip side of that is you can always feel if he-s feeling the pressure.

I-ve noticed that at certain times as a player, where I-ve thought, "Oh my God, what-s happening now? The manager-s head-s gone!" With Glenn Roeder at Newcastle (in the EPL), I thought, "Oh, here we go!"

Do our coaches need more coaching? We should always be looking to better ourselves as players, as coaches but do we do it enough? Probably not.

With such a long off-season as we have in Australia, should we go to Europe or Asia and study or get involved with another club to see how things are done elsewhere? I think we do need to be working harder in our coaching methods, in having a structure, a philosophy and plans in place for your club.

If you believe in the way you want your team to play, that-s something that should be worked on day in, day out. If you believe in it, you must stick with it and continue to work on it until it becomes automatic.

Mehmet Durakovic is under pressure now because Melbourne Victory are the Hyundai A-League's premier club. They-re the all-round package - the support, the way the club is run - and they need to see the team performing on the field the way it does off the field.

So should he start changing his team or tactics? People are asking is he the man in control, is Muscat coaching?

Durakovic needs to come out and say, "I-m the head coach here, I call the shots and this is the way we-re going to play. Yes, results haven-t gone the way we-d like but the system is going to stay the same, clientele may change because performances are not to the level that-s required then I-ll make those changes but it-s me that-ll be making those decisions."

With the roster Melbourne Victory have, we-ve all expected a lot more. There are question marks over the age of the squad, is it time for a massive changes? All valid questions but, at the moment, none of that-s going to happen. We-re mid-season; the players they've got now are the ones they've got for the season, so you know what? They just have to work really hard, they have to instil the team with confidence

Some have asked if Durakovic can handle big-name players? It shouldn't be an issue. A football dressing room is like a schoolyard; if there-s a group, you go for the noisiest one. As a manager, there-s no better way to set a standard than going for the so-called biggest player. That makes the squad stand up and think, "He-s deadly serious and I don-t want to be on the end of that." That-s man management.

Another common quote you get in these situations is that the coach has "lost the dressing room". It does happen and to get it back, a coach must be confident. He has to go in and say, "This is our system, we stick by this and do our jobs, and the results will turn."

But it doesn't take much for a coach to cop it. I think the criticism of Ian Ferguson has been outrageous. Perth Glory won their first three games of the season, OK, they didn-t perform as well on the road - but they got beaten at home by Sydney in a game I can-t believe they didn-t get a draw if not win it.

They were excellent against Melbourne victory, with 11 men and 10 men; they deserved to win that game. They had massive decisions that went against them, 2-nil down and they still come back to draw 2-all.

And they-ve played good football. They pass the ball well, they got the ball to the striker-s feet, they got the ball wide, went through midfield, they got good crosses into the box - I think Ian Ferguson has done a good job there.

We're seeing a lot of coaches get questioned now because we-ve got a team like Brisbane Roar, who have performed exceptionally well for a year and a half. I-ve asked the same questions - it-s not like we-ve got 15 good players in the country; it-s a big test of coaching ability because Ange Postecoglou has come in and shown what can be achieved when you get the right structures in place, you get a system, you get a philosophy. It-s a very important time for other coaches to be able to rise to that challenge.

I left Brisbane on my terms and Ange wanted to keep me involved but it wasn-t for me. But he came in with clear intentions that I-m going to go my path, bring in my players and those I think will respond well. It didn-t happen overnight - Brisbane finished the season with a whimper. But in the second season he had a full preseason and time to work.

That-s why I think we should still be supporting Mehmet. I don-t think there should be talk of sacking managers after seven games. There are many clubs that make rash decisions and have five or six managers in three years and they-re still in the same position.

You need stability, players need an opportunity to build a relationship with the head coach and assistant coach and feel confident. That doesn-t happen overnight. It can be a three-five year project - if any A-League club had a squad together for that long they-d be wining the competition I-m sure.