Zadkovich: We intend to get our fans off their seats

Brisbane Roar Coach, Ruben Zadkovich sat down with Channel 10 to preview Saturday’s Isuzu UTE A-League Round 24 clash against Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium.

Roar head into Saturday’s clash five points outside of the competition’s top six with just three games remaining in the regular season.

Buoyed by a 2-1 win on the road over Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, Roar look to build on a four-match unbeaten streak at Suncorp Stadium as they chase a return to finals football for the first time since 2021.

Zadkovich discussed Saturday’s match and the outlook for the remainder of the season while also reflecting on his time so far in Brisbane and the influences on his coaching style.

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Zadkovich on facing his old side, Newcastle Jets:  

“I don’t think anyone cares that it’s my old team, that’s for sure. Look we’re really focusing on improvement still and it was a nice performance a really, really good performance last week to get the points and I think the boys have really kicked on from that this week on the training pitch, they’ve trained with real intent and a real clear focus on improving and putting in another good performance in front of our home fans.”

Zadkovich on the club’s last game against Newcastle, which saw Jay O’Shea red carded in a 3-1 defeat:

“I think that red card was really harsh to be honest. I remember that was actually my first game with the club and I only met the boys that morning actually on game day and came into to assist in that game and I left at 43 minutes to go downstairs from the box into the dressing room and, when I came down Jay was sent off so I actually missed it and then watched the replay. I Didn’t think it was a red card to be honest and that kind of changed the game, so we’re not really looking at that match too much. It’s not something that we’re analysing, we certainly weren’t at our best, but we’re playing a much different style of football now and really imposing ourselves on the game and we want to do that again.”

Zadkovich on on the do-or-die nature of Saturday’s match:

“There’s many twists and turns still to be had in the last couple of weeks, but for us it’s just about a getting a result, but also the way we get a result is really important to me, it’s really important to the group that we play our style of football and impose ourselves on the game and play an attacking brand of football that can really get our fans off their seats and that’s what we intend to do.”

Zadkovich on his tenure so far at the helm in Brisbane:

“Yeah good, i’ve been really surprised to be honest about the quality that’s in the group and the quality people at the club. I came in a really difficult time, but there’s been nothing but positives to be honest. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of Brisbane Roar, it’s a fantastic Club with a rich history and it’s obviously been through a lot of turmoil and a lot of change, so I’ve enjoyed really working hard and trying to add some stability to the group and to the club and the response I’ve got from my staff and my players has been sensational and the areas to improve and the areas to build are really clear and that gives me a real positive belief and optimism as to what’s to come.”

Zadkovich on the direction forward for the club:

“I’d like to think so. My belief as a person never wavers and I’m an optimist by nature, I say that a lot, but I am and I truly believe that Brisbane can be a top football club again and yes we have our challenges and we have our difficulties, as do other clubs but if we focus on what’s ahead of us and focus on the positives and really try and build a football club from the ground up, from its foundations up then I believe it can be a top football club again and there’s going to be a process to that. There’s going to be some challenges and some adversity, but I feel like we have enough quality people you know within these four walls at the club to really stick together and work really hard together and grind our way out of these situations. I’ve been in the league a long time and been in the game a long time even though I’m still relatively young even though I look old. I feel like I can draw on a lot of experiences and a lot of hardships and get back to those positive times, so yeah I’m very optimistic about what’s to come.”

Zadkovich on coaches that influenced his management style:

“Well there’s a few I’ve had, I think that’s a privilege that I’ve had so many top managers and worked under so many top people. Ange Postecoglou was my under 20’s coach and he was the first person that put me in green and gold. The way he coached and managed is certainly something that I look up to and aspire to. Graham Arnold, was then my Olympic coach for three years, fantastic manager, fantastic person. I’ve been coached by Pierre Littbarski, who’s a two-time World Cup winner, number 10 for Germany and his assistant was Ian Crook, who won the old English Division One. I’ve been coached by Premier League managers like Paul Drew, Ian Holloway and the list goes on, there’s a lot more other Socceroos as well that have been coached by Terry Butcher, Captain of England. I’ve kind of seen so many different philosophies and models and I think that’s a lucky position for me to find myself in at my age to be able to draw on a lot of the positives from each of those people, but then also to be very clear that I want it to be myself and I want to manage and coach with my beliefs and my morals and the way I think the game should be played. That’s evolving all the time, it’s certainly something that grows each year and as each hardship comes you learn another lesson really quick. I draw on a lot of those managers, but I’m very clear that I want it to be something that represents me as well.”

Zadkovich on his playing career’s influence on his management style:

“Yeah I do, I always look at the positives, I’ll take the positives from the best people that I’ve worked with whether that be coaches or players. I mean, I look at the league now and it’s quite interesting, I think five or six of the other head coaches of clubs are ex-teammates of mine from that Sydney FC team so I draw a lot of the memories and moments from that year as well. A championship winning team as a young player playing under people like Dwight Yorke, Steve Corica, Tony Popovic and Mark Rudan, they were all senior guys in the team so there is a lot of lessons to be learned from those times but like I say, it is something that is forever evolving and changing and I just try and take the best from what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen. I watch a lot of football as well, I’m very analytical in terms of my approach to watching the game and then try and implement a model that I think is the best way forward and at the moment the pleasing thing for me is that the players and staff are really buying into what I’m laying down, that’s a philosophy to impose ourselves in games and to play the style of football that’s on the ball and yes, there is many areas we need to improve it’s quite clear, but the process is also very clear so that gives us real belief in where we’re going.”

Zadkovich on the spirit within the playing group:

“Yeah for sure, the players are everything to me, we’ve got a fantastic spirit in that dressing room and so many good individuals and I could sense very quickly when I came to the club the frustration and the stress that they were under through so many changes. So my focus was just to give them stability and something to believe in again. What’s nice is at the moment I’m going to work and it doesn’t feel like a job at all, I love working with the group and I wish we had more games left in the season if I’m honest, so we have to make these moments count and we have an opportunity on the weekend to play against Newcastle. I’ve been in the league long enough to know that it will be a difficult game. Every team in this league has their threats and they have some key players, a quality number nine and a top shelf number ten, they have quality players in a few positions, so we have to be at our best but I’m more than confident that we can get out there and get the job done.”

Isuzu UTE A-League Men 2023/24 – Round 24: Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
Suncorp Stadium, Milton
Saturday, 13 April (5:30pm KO)