Smith: Roar’s job only half done
The Roar clinched the A-League title with three games to spare after a last-minute scorcher against Melbourne Victory sealed the three points on Saturday.
But Smith said the team had already turned their attention to the A-League Grand Final.
“We’re very happy and we’re delighted to call ourselves the league winners, and with that comes playing in Asia next year which is something we want to be playing in year-in-year-out,” Smith said.
“But we recognise and appreciate that we still have three games left in the league and we still have the final series. We’re 50 per cent there.
“We know we have to keep building the momentum because the final series is a completely different competition and mindset.
“We’ve been there in the past and we know what to expect. We certainly want to use these next three league matches to really put in good performances and hopefully gain some momentum going into the finals.”
In an absorbing affair at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane secured the title with a spectacular goal from Luke Brattan.
Smith added: “It was a good tactical game.
“Victory set up well and were very, very difficult. They played some good football. I felt that we too played some good football. We had that bite, we had that edge.
“Although there was only one goal in it and it came late, I think it was a good game to watch for the fans.”
Brisbane has won several games this season thanks to late goals and Smith believes the team has the confidence to keep pushing to win in every match no matter what stage in the game it is.
“Just looking back at the stats and my memory from the game, we created a few opportunities last night,” he said.
“We always have the belief that, as a club and a squad, that we are going to create chances. It might be in the first minute or it might be in the last minute.
“It’s something I guess that’s been carried forward year after year that we’ll keep pushing, I guess that’s embedded in our culture.
“We know that if we can keep going with our approach, and really stay focused in our methods, then opportunities will present themselves to us.
“We have that belief in the squad. Brattsy has come up with a few goals this year. Besart (Berisha) is on 11 goals and will probably score some more. We have players chipping in from different positions as well.
The central defender, who is originally from the UK, doesn’t value the Premier’s Plate over winning the A-League Grand Final.
“I think Australian culture perceives the Grand Final to be the biggest honour in Australian sport and I fully respect the way that it is,” Smith added.
“(But) obviously coming from England I’m ‘first comes first’ and that’s the league.”
Smith said he has no preference for Roar’s opponents in the finals but did pinpoint the major threats.
“If you’re looking at momentum you have to look at Adelaide, you have to look at Melbourne Victory despite the loss,” he said.
“Central Coast Mariners are doing very well and coping with their ACL commitments and Western Sydney always pose a threat.
“I think those four will certainly be major threats but the beauty of Australian sport and particularly the A-League is, as we’ve seen week-in-week-out, that any given team on their day can beat any other. And that challenges clubs to be consistent.
“I’ve said it all season that if we want to be successful this season we have to put our benchmarks on consistency. We have performed relatively well this year but I’d like us to be more consistent.”