Brisbane Roar boss John Aloisi was in a buoyant mood on Friday, promising that his club would make Suncorp Stadium a fortress again and play a brand of attractive football that would “make our supporters proud”.
The Roar had the worst home record last term, losing eight of 14 matches in front of their supporters.
And while Brisbane scraped into the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Finals Series, it ultimately was a frustrating season for Aloisi’s men.
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But an array of new signings - headed by Adam Taggart, Stefan Mauk, Tobias Mikkelsen and Alex Lopez - has Aloisi upbeat and positive as the Roar prepare to host Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
“We definitely will make it [Suncorp] a fortress, 100 per cent we will make it a fortress,” he said.
“We’ve got a fit team. There’s one thing that we are this season, extremely fit.
“Everyone knows Suncorp, everyone knows this weather, it’s humid, big pitch, as an opposition player it’s horrible to come to.
“I was an opposition player once in my lifetime, a few years back, and I hated coming here.
“Our players will relish that - not only the players that start but also the players that make an impact off the bench.
“We’ll start the game fast and I’m sure that we’ll finish the game just as fast.”
The pledges kept coming from Aloisi at his news conference, who was in a good mood after finding out around 20,000 fans are expected at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
“The fans will be excited by the team this season,” he said.
“The way we’re going to play our football will be exciting to watch and I’m sure that they will be happy when they see us on Sunday.
“Plenty has changed, you’ve seen the personnel we’ve brought in.
“We’ve changed quite a few things. We’ve got players up front like Taggart and Mauk who are really combining well right now and then Toby Mikkelsen, we’ve still got Henrique, we’ve still got Eric [Bautheac] - so we’ve got an exciting front four.
“We know about our midfield and our defenders but I think where everyone is going to be excited about is our front four.
“I know it takes a while for chemistry to build but our players have been here from very early on.
“You can really see now, the last two, three weeks, the understanding has really grown and they’re enjoying playing with each other.”
The off-season has allowed the Roar to regenerate what was an ageing squad and Aloisi has set his sights on - at minimum - another Finals Series berth.
“All I can say is that we’re going to be there at the end of the season,” he added.
“I can’t promise that we’re going to be lifting up the trophy, I’d love to, I want to, but I can promise that we’ll make our supporters proud this year.”