Wellington Phoenix have announced Dutchman Darije Kalezic as their new head coach. He spoke to www.a-league.com.au about his coaching career and plans for the Phoenix in the first of a two-part interview.
How did the move to Wellington Phoenix come about?
"My contact with Wellington is since 2013.
"One of the biggest player agents Dragan Jevtic from Melbourne, who unfortunately died last year, brought us into contact in 2013.
"But in 2013 I was signed by PSV Eindhoven who at that time were starting with a totally new vision with the legend Phillip Cocu as the new head coach.
"PSV brought me in as the coach of their second team and to be part of the first team and part of their vision.
"From that time, Wellington Phoenix followed me as a coach and last year David Dome contacted me again to see if I was interested in working together.
"It surprised me that Wellington kept an eye on me and they gave me a lot of respect. It's very nice and very kind."
What is it about the Phoenix that attracted you to the club?
"In 2013, I had good meetings with the people from Wellington and the board and it gave me a good feeling.
"The first impression is always important. I had good memories from that time.
"With the knowledge that I have in Europe and with my experience, I think I can develop the club - not only the squad, but also the club.
"That is important if you are ambitious and want to settle down in the top six in the A-League."
How well do you know the Hyundai A-League?
"I have followed the A-League – many Dutch players have played here.
"Many times player agents have rung me about players.
"I have experience with Youssouf Hersi and Romeo Castelen to bring them to Australia.
"Last year it was the same situation with Jordy Buijs at Sydney FC - I was asked about the player.
"I follow the league and the players, so yes, I am familiar with the league."
Wellington have finished outside the top six in the last two seasons. What does the club have to do to become a top six side and a title contender?
"First of all the main organisation has to be professional – there has to be a professional environment.
"The culture has to be good to get results – that is the starting point.
"From there, you can build a good staff and a good team.
"You can build a good structure in a technical and tactical way, but the base has to be good."
How do you like your teams to play?
"I like to play with the material I have in the squad.
"The quality of the players will decide how I'm going to play.
"But if you're asking about my favourite way, the answer is the Dutch way of football - attractive, nice football, based on possession.
"I like to have good organisation in the squad – that means solid defence. It's not just to attack to score five goals but concede four.
"I like to keep a clean sheet and attack and play nice football from solid organisation."
Rado Vidosic will be your assistant - will you rely heavily on his knowledge of the Hyundai A-League?
"Rado is an important link.
"He had many years as assistant at one of the best ever clubs in the league. He was twice an A-League champion so he brings huge experience with him.
"He is unbelievably important for the Phoenix, but also for me as a coach."