Interim Adelaide United FC Coach Michael Valkanis’ only concern heading into the next nine games of the season is on the Reds winning games and featuring in the finals.
Interim Adelaide United FC Coach Michael Valkanis- only concern heading into the next nine games of the season is on the Reds winning games and making the most of the opportunity they have put themselves in to have a crack at featuring in the finals.
At the end of a tumultuous 24 hours that was triggered by John Kosmina-s sudden resignation from the top role, Valkanis was left calling the shots at training this morning as he attempts to get the squad to overcome the off field distractions and have them ready for a crunch home game against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
The Assistant Coach to Kosmina before the news came out that Kosmina had quit the club, Valkanis has been handed the reins for the rest of the season with nine weeks to go before finals.
Following Kosmina-s announcement which led to Club Chairman Greg Griffin stating Valkanis would take over the role on an interim basis, the former Reds defender called the squad in for a light training session yesterday afternoon, using it to ensure the players- focus was on the games ahead, starting with Western Sydney on Sunday, and not any off field drama.
“It was a strange one…your life changes when you don-t expect it to, but you-ve got to get on with it,” Valkanis said in regards to taking on the role.
“This opportunity has come up now, I-m willing to help out the club as an interim coach, do the job that is required and hopefully get the best out of the players to achieve our goal.”
“I think it was important to have a chat to the boys in terms of what-s going on, what-s happened and what the real focus should be, and that-s winning football games, and we know this week we-ve got an important game coming up,” Valkanis said.
Valkanis remained tight lipped on exactly what he said to the players, but revealed the emphasis was on striving to win games, putting in a hundred per cent at training and making something of position they have put themselves in.
“The club is bigger than anyone and we-ve got a big job at hand and a great opportunity for all of us to achieve something big, and we need to focus on winning games,” Valkanis said.
“We need to focus on improving day in day out here on the park, that-s where we-re going to get better. We need to really work hard and hopefully get the results to get up a bit higher on the ladder and be in the finals.”
From various areas on the outside, Valkanis has been embroiled in rumours and innuendo that he was earmarked to take over the Head Coaching role from next season, leading some to believe it was part of the reason for Kosmina-s shock decision.
However, Valkanis strongly denies any speculation that his future at the club had or has ever been discussed or decided with the Board, and he is determined to clear the air surrounding the murmurings.
“I-ll mention something once about it and that-s it. I have great respect for Kossie. I played under him and played good football under him, and I worked very hard under him as an assistant coach and did everything he asked me to do and even more sometimes,” Valkanis said.
“They are difficult circumstances how it has all come up because we weren-t expecting Kossie to resign. The club is fourth on the ladder and I know in the coming weeks he was supposed to have a chat with the Board about moving forwards.”
“I never had spoken to the club about next year, I-ve never spoken to the club about the head coach, and the club never spoke to me. For me, I was always the Assistant and the Youth Team coach and I really enjoyed that role.”
“Obviously now the circumstances have chosen that I-ve got to fulfil this role until the end of the season and I-ll do that to the best of my ability like I-ve done as a player for this club.”
“I-ll expect that the players work really hard and give it their all, because like I said the club is bigger than anyone, it-s a great club, we need everyone to get behind it and we need all of the support we can get because we-re fourth on the ladder.”
In the time that he has to put his influence on the team and bring a sense of ‘stability- back after the off field events of the past fortnight, which included the financial settlement with former coach Rini Coolen, the non compromising Valkanis said it was simply about getting results.
“We know it-s not the best thing and you-d like to have stability at a club, but I think the only way to fix the brand is to play good football and to win games,” Valkanis said.
“From day one this club has had great support. Now along the way it has fallen off for whatever reason but everyone has got to jump back on board because we-ve got a team that is right up there.”
“We-ve got to talk about playing good football and winning games, and that-s what we want people talking about, and that-s how we-re going to fix the image of the club.”
“We need to get back some confidence in what we were doing earlier on but we-ve got good players and I think we-ll turn it around.”