New Central Coast Mariners boss Alen Stajcic isn’t accustomed to coaching a losing team, which is why the former Matildas coach sees the 2019 FFA Cup as his opportunity to speedily turn the club into winners.
Today, the Mariners kick off preparations for the new A-League Season 2019/20 which starts in October.
On Wednesday night, the club will find out who they've drawn with the 2019 FFA CUP draw live on Fox Sports.
And with another large-scale turnover of fresh local faces plus a raft of visa signings to come, it’ll be a new-look Mariners in the dugout and on the park.
Some of them with a point to prove, including strikers Abraham Majok and Jai Ingham (from Wanderers and Victory respectively), and the return of technically gifted playmaker Daniel De Silva.
And Stajcic, too. He wants to show his new club - where he signed a three-year deal with last month - that he's a winner.
“I’ve been in a winning environment for 15-20 years of my coaching career. I’ve never been in a team that’s at the bottom of the league,” the former Matildas coach and W-League winner, who took over the Mariners late last season, told FTBL
“So 15 years straight being with teams who’ve been challenging for the Premiership and Semi-Finals I’ve almost never missed out on finals anywhere I’ve been, so it’s not something I’m aiming to do for the first time this year."
With the Mariners starting pre-season earlier than most, Stajcic, it’s all about a winning momentum.
Which means the FFA Cup, which kicks off for A-League clubs in late July, early August, is vital in changing the club's losing vibe.
The FFA Cup has been a disaster for the club in recent years as fit and firing NPL outfits have rolled the rusty Mariners in the early rounds.
The Gosford-based club has been hampered in their A-League preparations by crashing out of the FFA Cup so early.
“The biggest change we need is to get into the habit of winning. A winning team breeds winning and a losing team breeds losing mentalities,” he said.
“We’ll go out to win every friendly every FFA Cup game and every A-League game, we really need to change that culture and mentality around winning every contest we’re part of.
“So the FFA Cup will be a big priority. It’s not easy given it comes four to six weeks into pre-season.
“But it’s certainly something that’s a key component in changing the mentality and winning mentality, and not just using it as a warm-up match for the preparation to the A-League.
“It’s a goal for the club but we just need to win the first game [Round of 32] and once you get into that rhythm of winning it’s a lot easier to keep winning.”