Carl Robinson has opened up about his plan to improve the Newcastle Jets, his coaching philosophy and his experiences in the A-League.
In February the Jets appointed Robinson as the replacement of Ernie Merrick as head coach.
The hire left some wondering – Carl who? A Welshman, relatively young at 43, and only with five years experience in charge of a club, and that one in Canada as well.
Robinson was a fine player, spending 12 years in England with the likes of Wolves, Sunderland, Norwich City, also amassing 52 caps for the Welsh national team, but as a coach he was relatively unknown.
But the former midfielder hit the ground running in the A-League, making an immediate impact in Newcastle that has only been slowed down by the Coronavirus.
In his first six games in charge of the Jets, previously struggling bottom and at the bottom of the ladder, were unbeaten.
Robinson's debut started with a morale-boosting 4-3 F3 derby win over the Mariners. Consecutive draws against Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory followed, and then three wins in a row over Perth Glory, Adelaide United and Melbourne City.
Newcastle moved up the table just three points off the top six. Just as the season came to a halt because of the pandemic, the undefeated run ended with a close 1-0 defeat to Brisbane Roar.
Still, with four victories and two draws from his first seven games at the helm, Robinson's impact at McDonald Jones Stadium has been clearly felt.
The 43-year-old admits he arrived in the Hunter eager not make massive changes.
"The easiest thing a manager can do when he comes in is say he’s going to change everything and the squad is wrong and they’re not playing for the previous manager and all that. I won't do that," he told FTBL.
"The first day I walked in I said the business that we’re in, unfortunately a manager loses his job and a new coach comes in. I’m sure the last coach Ernie had really, really good ideas because he did – he proved that in the A-League.
"But sometimes change is needed. What I’m not going to do is rip up all that he had done, and some of the work might not have come to fruition even though its gone on in the background.
"I'm not going to say from day one I’m this young, whizz-kid coach who’s going to come in and do this, this and this, because I respect the previous coaches. I’ve been in that situation. There’s a lot of good players here.
"All I’m going to do is make a few tactical changes, in relation to the team and squad, and ask you [the players] to do a few things differently. Nothing that you can't do, then my main job was instill confidence.
"As I generally felt that they weren’t smiling as much as I wanted my team to be smiling, they weren’t enjoying it. If you’re happy you can work harder. I want you to train the way you play. If you don’t, you can turn it on and off on a Saturday."