Western United's 2020-2021 A-League campaign ended like a damp squib.
A run of eight losses in a row saw the Victorian club fall badly out of playoff contention and finish third from the bottom. The change at Western since June has been swift.
Head coach Mark Rudan departed, John Aloisi replaced him and a raft of new signings have arrived, including senior European internationals Rene Krhin, Leo Lacroix and Aleksandar Prijovic.
Midfielder Steve Lustica is confident Aloisi can turn Western around this season and that his new-look team has the quality to mount a proper title challenge.
Lustica worked with the Socceroo great at Brisbane Roar and believes he can get the expansion outfit firing again.
"The boss had an amazing career as a player at the highest level and he has been able to bring all his experience and knowledge into his coaching methods," he told FTBL.
"He provides a lot of confidence to his players and expects and demands the highest commitment.
"I previously enjoyed my time with John Aloisi at Brisbane and I am happy to be working with him again at Western United. All our new signings are quality players and are training well.
"Hopefully they can all make an impact on our season to make it a very successful one. Of course last season was disappointing but that is now long gone. We should use it as a motivation to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes and move on.
"Our goal for this season would be no different to any other season and that is to do the best we can. Having said that we believe we have enough quality in the squad not only to make the finals but challenge for all the silverware on offer."
Western kick off the new A-League campaign on Saturday against Melbourne Victory.
For Lustica, who joined the club last year, it is a chance to put the disappointment of 2020-2021 behind him.
The 30-year-old battled a series of dehabilitating groin injuries last season but is back fully fit and chomping at the bit.
"I am looking forward to this season very much," the former Gold Coast, Brisbane, Western Sydney and Adelaide midfielder said.
"The long off-season gave me a chance to manage a few injuries I had last season, I was playing with those injuries and it took its toll. I took this opportunity to get my body right and I am now feeling really good.
"Provided we all remain injury-free I am feeling very confident we will have a great season. The team environment is fantastic and the general feeling around the club is also very positive."