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Mar 24, 2022   |  3:53PM AET

Match Preview: Zadkovich calls for a shift in mentality

Match Preview: Zadkovich calls for a shift in mentality

New Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich has called for a shift in mentality from his squad as preparations continue for Saturday’s ISUZU UTE A-League clash with Wellington Phoenix at Leichardt Oval (kick-off at 2.05pm WST, catch all the action on Paramount Plus).

View his full media conference HERE.

Zadkovich stepped up to take the reins at the start of the week after Richard Garcia and Steven McGarry parted company with the club in the wake of last Saturday’s home defeat against Brisbane Roar.

And the new man at the helm believes that a new mental approach is vital in helping to drive the club back to winning ways.

“Training’s been good,” he said.

“The players have shown a real lift in their energy, so preparing for Wellington has been really enjoyable.

“Trying to change too much too quickly is obviously difficult.

“We have a really heavy fixture list, a lot of games in a very short space of time.

“But I want to see a shift in the mentality and a shift in the belief from the playing group and I want to see a performance that reflects the position we’re in.

“The Members and fans are hurting, the club is hurting and while we can’t implement all the key principles and changes from a philosophy or playing-style point of view straight away, what we can do is show a real lift in our mentality and our effort and that’s one of the first things.

“We start the ten games [remaining in the regular season] with Wellington and we’ll look to get a win there and build.”

Zadkovich went on to confirm that the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Kosuke Ota will again be unavailable through injury, while Bruno Fornaroli is, of course, away on international duty with the Socceroos and Mitch Oxborrow is serving the first of a two-match suspension after being sent off against Brisbane Roar last weekend.

But striker Andy Keogh is set to return to the squad and the Head Coach remains confident that the players he has at his disposal are more than capable of securing what would be Glory’s fourth win of the campaign.

“I’m not looking so much at what we don’t have; I’m really focusing on what we do have here,” he said.

“The ones that are here on the grass and are coming with me to Wellington, I’m just going to put all my energy into them.

“I’m a firm believer in giving people opportunities… I’m going to put a lot of faith in people and they’re going to get an opportunity to prove their worth.

“Resilience is something that to instil takes a little bit of time,
effort and energy, not so much and that’s the first reaction I’m looking for.”

In terms of what kind of approach we can expect to see from the men in purple on Saturday, Zadkovich was very clear.

“I’m a firm believer in an upbeat, dynamic, energetic, attacking style of football,” he said.

“I’ve been coaching for five or six years in the NPL space and I think every season bar one, we scored the most goals in the competition.

“That’s not by chance, that’s by design.

“There’s a lot of detail that goes into making that happen and we won’t be able to touch on every one of those things in the next ten weeks purely because we have game after game after game, but the long-term plan in my head of what Perth Glory should look like is up-tempo, dynamic, attacking, aggressive, disciplined and structured.

“Sometimes, looking too far ahead in a season can be pretty naive, so I’m just going to focus on the first game.

“Outcome aside, if I get the performance that I think reflects the kind of fight and resilience we need to start showing for this club, that will be a massive positive.”

Glory will be up against a Wellington side which currently sits one place and three points outside the top six having won six of their 15 games thus far this term.

Ufuk Talay’s side had gone seven games unbeaten up to a fortnight ago, since when they have been downed 2-1 by Brisbane and 4-0 by the Jets.

Gary Hooper and Jaushua Sotirio lead their scoring chart with four apiece, while English import Scott Wootton, who signed a long-term deal with the club earlier this week, has been a commanding figure at the back.

Glory will be searching for a first win over the Kiwi outfit since August 2022 when a Joel Chianese goal proved enough to secure victory in an Elimination Final.