Brisbane Roar FC coach Mike Mulvey has emphatically denied any talk of dressing room unrest in his side as a result of their winless start to their title defence.
Winners of three of the last four Hyundai A-League championships, the Roar have endured a horror start losing their opening three matches to sit on the bottom of the ladder.
It’s lead to rumours of unrest amongst the playing group and suggestions Mulvey had “lost the dressing room”.
“That’s totally false. Absolutely 100 percent false,” Mulvey told Fox Sports’ Sunday Shootout program.
“If you were at our training session two days ago you would know there’s a team out there that’s committed.
“They’re together. We lose together, we win together. The dressing room’s solid and the players are committed to turning this around.”
Mulvey said the loss of key players Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory) and Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moscow) – as well as an injury to goal-keeper Michael Theo – had taken more of a toll than he anticipated.
“Those guys are also very strong personalities and someone’s got to step into those shoes,” he said.
“It’s not easy just doing what you normally do. What we need from some of our young guys is to take those opportunities and step up to the plate. I’m confident we’ll do that.”
The Roar will have to overturn a worrying hoodoo if they are to get their season back on track and qualify for the finals.
Over the first nine seasons of the competition, no defending champions has had less than four points after the opening three rounds and managed to still make the top six.
“Stats there to be broken…it’s only three games gone,” Mulvey said.
“Am I hurting? Absolutely. Are the fans hurting? Absolutely. Are the players hurting? Absolutely. But it should hurt because we haven’t performed up to the level we should have.
“We’re working hard, we’re trying to evolve our game and we’re looking to improve.”
Roar host Melbourne City at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, with key midfielder Matt McKay to return to the squad after missing the last two matches through suspension.