Tony Popovic is the perfect man build Perth Glory into title challengers for the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season and beyond, according to Ivan Franjic.
The 30-year-old became the first signing of the Popovic era when he signed in May from Brisbane Roar – and has since been joined by Matthew Spiranovic, Tomislav Mrcela and Brendon Santalab.
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Franjic says the Asian Champions League-winning coach is already making his presence felt in Glory quarters.
“I think he’s winner, he’s done that in the past and he wants to bring that culture to Glory,” Franjic told the club’s official website.
“Glory has always been a big club, it’s the oldest club in the league going back to the NSL days.”
The arrivals of Franjic, Spiranovic and Mrcela are significant additions in defence for Perth - perhaps indicating Popovic's intent to re-build Glory from the back.
Kenny Lowe's side shipped 50 goals last season as the team slid to their lowest league finish in four years - the Western Sydney Wanderers conceded the same amount of goals in Popovic's first two seasons at the helm in Parramatta.
Glory commenced their pre-season training on Monday, allowing Franjic what will be the first full pre-season the defender has undergone in several years having battled niggling injuries while on the books of Melbourne City and South Korean outfit Daegu.
As Popovic puts his new charges through what is sure to be a gruelling season preparation, the three-time Hyundai A-League Championship winner says this time of the year will be critical if Glory are to contend for silverware in 2018/19.
“Everyone needs to be on the same page, the culture needs to be well and the way you train is the way you play so if you’ve got the training intensity very high, games become a lot easier.
“The more you train with one another you get to know each other and it’s all about movements, patterns but most importantly intensity at training.”
“This is the first pre-season I’ve done in a while so I’m just looking forward to getting out there”
Glory fans will get their first chance to see Franjic in action when they host Premier League giants Chelsea at Optus Stadium on 23 July.