Brisbane Roar’s last-gasp 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix represents a fresh beginning for the reigning champions in season 2014-15, according to coach Frans Thijssen.
The Roar had struggled in the first part of the season and failed to show and dramatic signs of improvement after the dismissal of former manager Mike Mulvey, but a month-long break and some reinforcements may have invigorated the squad.
“I hope you see a different team to a month ago,” Thijssen said after the victory, which was secured thanks to an injury time goal from Jean Carlos Solorzano.
“Of course I’m very happy in the end with the win, because it would have been bad news if we hadn’t won this game because we were so much on top.
“And you see the fighting spirit from the whole team from the beginning till the end.”
Thijssen had his players working hard in training over the break, with an emphasis on fitness work, in order to have them fully prepared to reboot their season once the action got back underway.
“The boys have been working very hard the last month, we trained very hard and we knew with the new players and the players coming back from injury that we were stronger and you have to show it on the field, and that’s what they did today.
“It will give them confidence for the rest of the season.
“A new start is always very important.”
Thijssen welcomed back star midfielder Thomas Broich and goalkeeper Michael Theo from injury, while Shane Stefanutto was back in the starting lineup after having fully recovered from a knock of his own.
While new striker Andrija Kaluderovic was not yet ready to join the side, another signing Jerome Polenz grew into the game after a slow start, and provided the assist for Solorzano’s winner.
“You have Thomas Broich coming back into the team, you have on the right hand side Jerome, who is a strong player, back in the team, who is a leader too, you have Shane coming back who is a leader, and did very well in defence too.
“So I thought in every position everybody was fighting and as coach you can’t ask for any more than fighting for 90 minutes.”