DEPARTING Melbourne Victory boss Ange Postecoglou hopes his side can put all the attention surrounding him aside and focus on getting a result against Brisbane Roar tonight.
Postecoglou has been the centre of attention since he was revealed as a candidate for the Socceroos job following the sacking of Holger Osieck two weeks ago, with Football Federation Australia announcing the 48-year-old on a five-year deal on Wednesday.
But despite the uncertainty that has surrounded him and the head coach position, Postecoglou wants his players to focus solely on a good performance against the league leaders.
“It’s obviously been a big week but I’ve really been conscious that everyone here has been focused on Friday night’s game because it’s a big game for us,” said Postecoglou yesterday.
“I spoke to the players yesterday before training and told them my decision. Obviously the biggest factor for me and everyone was the timing of it, because I think they’d all be pretty pleased I got this opportunity.
“But obviously with a change comes uncertainty so I’m sure there would have been some mixed feelings there. Some of them might be happy to see me go but who knows.
“The players were good and they trained really well yesterday and they trained really well today so I’m looking forward to a good performance.”
But there will be no goodbye messages until after the 90 minutes are over at Etihad Stadium tonight.
“It wasn’t really a goodbye because I’m still here so they would have scratched their heads if I made a big speech and I went out at training and started barking at them,” said Postecoglou. “We’ll leave that until after the game.”
“It was really just a simple process of explaining to them decision and why it was made now.
“There was obviously some uncertainty at the time but it was just to assure them that the club was very supportive of me and then just to really focus on Friday night.
“Ultimately that’s our biggest responsibility as members of this football club, to make sure tomorrow night we represent the football club in the best possible manner and reward our faithful supporters that backed us big time this year.
“I was really pleased with last week, there were some really good signs for us there. We played some great football and against some adversity. They’re really good signs but we need to back that up.”
Postecoglou’s last game in charge of Victory is against his former side Brisbane Roar, who he took to two championships, but believes the match-up alone is big enough without any attention surrounding him.
“I guess it’s a bizarre set of circumstances that the two clubs I’ve coached in the A-League are playing, but I’ve been consistent in saying that’s not really important,” Postecoglou added.
“Two big teams are playing and it doesn’t need any of the extra stuff that’s happened this week to build it up. As a stand alone event it’s going to be a massive game.
“Anyone that watched us play last week and watched Brisbane play last week; if you’re a sports lover you’ll be tuning in or coming to the ground because it’s going to be a great game and that’s still the key thing.
“It’s a big enough game and as I keep saying it’s what this football club’s about, every week we seem to have a big game.
“Last week was a massive game, the first game was a massive game and this game’s a massive game. I don’t think it needs any extra emotion or any other reason to be motivated.
“Brisbane have started the season very well and they look like they’re going to be a contender this year and we’d like to believe we’re a contender this year so it’s going to be a good game.
“Both teams like to play good attacking football so in terms of a spectacle I reckon it will be a good one.
‘There’s plenty of motivation there without having to add anything extra to it.”