Brisbane Roar midfielder Steven Lustica said ignoring the club’s off-field dramas and concentrating on manager John Aloisi’s instructions is the reason behind the club’s resurgence to second place on the A-League ladder.
In the off season, Roar’s owners repeatedly missed payroll deadlines as players and staff were payed late. Earlier this week the Professional Footballer’s Association also named the club as one of five, along with Central Coast Mariners, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory and Adelaide United, who still owe money to their players.
Although there was speculation former Roar midfielder Luke Brattan left the club in pre-season due to unpaid wages, Lustica said that progress is being made to bring stability back to the club.
“Things are slowly starting to get sorted out,” Lustica said.
“In the off-season there were a few problems, but slowly but surely things are getting sorted out now and we are just more focused on playing every week and improving.
“We are just more focused on the football side of things. We let the people in the background take care of the other stuff for the club.”
Currently, Roar are second on the A-League ladder. At this stage last season they had won three, drawn one and lost six games and were in sixth spot. But this season they have won five, drawn three and lost only two games.
Lustica said that the players are happier than last season, and that is down to the influence of the new coach.
“John Aloisi has come in and he’s brought in new ideas and new structures,” he said.
“We worked very hard in the offseason and we are slowly seeing that now in our football and now we have started the season well we are just looking to improve game by game now and keep on improving.
“Brisbane Roar has always been a team that has high demands we always want to be on top of the league and that has never changed.
“So we’ve always have high expectations of ourselves obviously last season was a poor season for us, for our standards.
“Now this year the changes that have been made with the coaching stuff there is a lot more positivity around and game by game we are getting stronger and stronger.”
To start the season Aloisi’s men won four of their first six games. Last week’s win against the Wellington Phoenix, where Lustica came on as a substitute and scored the equalising goal before Jamie McLaren sealed the win, was Roar’s first win in four games.
But Lustica disagreed that the team was in a mini slump during that period.
“I don’t think we haven’t struggled at all,” he said.
“We’ve been playing some top football. Obviously there were some results there where we drew a few games and we lost a game but we were still sticking to our structures and playing some good football.
“We were just a bit unlucky in a few games. In the final third we didn’t get the goals that we were looking for but the last week was a positive result for us getting back to winning ways but the weeks before that the performances were strong.
“As long as we performing like that the results will come.”
Roar conclude Round 11 of the A-League with the Sunday afternoon game against the Central Coast. Even though the Mariners have not won since the opening day Lustica said the club was not a taking a win for granted.
“It’s never an easy game going to the Mariners,” he said.
“They’re going to be motivated to get back to their winning ways. We are going to be prepared and we also want to improve from our last game as well.
“There are no easy games in the A-League especially against the Mariners at their home ground.”