New Central Coast Mariners coach Alen Stajcic settled behind the desk of his new job and admitted the ordeals that he and the squad have endured would help drive them to success.
Stajcic was the surprise replacement for former coach Mike Mulvey who was sacked in the early hours of Sunday morning after his side was thrashed 8-2 by Wellington Phoenix.
The club contacted the former Matildas coach later the same day to open negotiations about him taking the job short-term and the deal until the end of the season was sealed this morning.
Today Stajcic admitted the club had no chance of making the finals in the remaining six games left for him to oversee.
But he was convinced he can make a difference in the short time left for him to coach the side – and set things in place for next season.
Key to improving things at the Mariners though was simply restoring belief and confidence in the side which has only won one game in over a year now.
Despite heading for their third wooden spoon in four seasons, Stajcic believes the quality is in the side to be competitive in the A-League.
”We’ve all been through a fair bit recently,” he admitted in the wake of this shock sacking by Football Federation Australia and the subsequent fall out which rocked the sport.
“So I can really relate to where they are mentally and it’s not easy. When you’re knocked down on the floor, you have two choices - stay down on the floor and give up, or get up and fight.
”Even in the brief time I’ve seen the players at training this morning, I can see real positivity in the group that they want to do better.”
Stajcic revealed he had known Mulvey for 16 years and the English-born coach was one of the few to actually phone Stajcic after his axing by the FFA.
”We’ve got a great relationship and I’m sure that will continue,” added Stajcic.
Although never having worked in professional men’s football, he was confident he could make the transition to the A-League.
He will be bringing in his former Matildas assistant Nahuel Arrerte – who quit soon after Stajcic was sacked – but he will also be keeping on current assistant coach Nick Montgomery.
”For me, it’s a great opportunity as an individual,” he said today. “I’ve been coaching for 20 years. I’ve got a wealth of experience in coaching senior teams and international teams.
”It’s a fantastic challenge and something that I thrive on. It’s a no-brainer to really achieve something that I’ve never done before.”