Alen Stajcic: The hard work is ahead of us

With a fresh squad of players donning the Yellow & Navy, Head Coach Alen Stajcic is relishing the prospect of a full pre-season to prepare his squad for the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 campaign.

Serving six games as the Mariners’ Caretaker Coach last season, Stajcic has already added seven players to his squad who have hit the ground running at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence.

Speaking with media after the first week of pre-season, Stajcic spoke of his desire to change the perception of the Mariners whilst recognising the hard work that’s ahead of the club.

Welcome to a new campaign…
“It’s very exciting to come back at the beginning of the year and lay the foundations. Everyone is excited and enthusiastic, but we certainly know there is a lot of hard work to really make us competitive again. The players have been great, the staff have been great, and we are all excited to get stuck in.

Recruitment trail…
“I’m very happy with all the recruits, we have so many players that have come into the squad and they have brought in great energy and everyone’s hungry for success and to build this club back up. Everyone has come to this club from various different clubs from around the country and the world, but we all have the same intent and objectives. Training has been good, but we all know the real hard work is ahead of us.

Reflecting on last season, building for this season…
“I’ve had great support from the club and the owners to help ensure we have all the staff we need to be able to provide all the players the resources they need for them to be at their peak. We’ve recruited very well, there’s some fantastic players that are coming to the club. There’s going to be a lot of hard work to dig us out of the perception everyone has of us, but we want to show the A-League that we are a force to be reckoned with.

“We all own the history of the club, it doesn’t matter if you have been here for one minute or five years, we all own the history and we all want to rebuild the club. We want to give all the fans a lot of hope and belief at the start of the season and get them to the games. The big picture for me is not only the club but also the A-League. We want the league to be thriving and strong and it is essential that clubs like the Mariners are successful. I’m really excited to get started, I love seeing the players work hard and improving as we go along and as I said be the best we can become the start of the A-League.

What does pre-season look like?
“Hard work, there is no sugar coating the fact that there is a lot of physical work that goes into the preparation, a lot of tactical work to ensure that we are as robust and resilient we can be physically, tactically and technically. There is a lot of elements that go into it, but you've got to put all those pieces together and that’s the job for all of us as a group.

New staff members
“Something we didn’t have last year was a full time video analyst but now we have a full time staff member in that role. It’s great to get Jess Vanstrattan back here on the Coast, probably one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the country. The experience he’s had over the past five years and the goalkeepers he has coached shows how good a goalkeeper coach he is," Stajcic said.