Q & A with Sydney FC’s Alen Stajcic

Ahead of their semi-final with the Melbourne Victory at Campbelltown Stadium this Sunday (3pm kick-off), we caught up with championship winning Sydney FC W-League coach Alen Stajcic.

Ahead of their semi-final with the Melbourne Victory at Campbelltown Stadium this Sunday (3pm kick-off), we caught up with championship winning Sydney FC W-League coach Alen Stajcic.

1. You wrapped consecutive Premierships with a 2-1 win over the Jets last Saturday, were you happy with the team-s performance?

The performance on the weekend probably wasn-t our best however we still prevailed against a determined Newcastle team. We had 5 changes to the team from the week before so it caused a bit more disruption than I had hoped for. It was good to see a couple of the younger players stand up however and show they are in good form leading into the finals series.

2. You have scored a massive 29 goals in 10 games this season – by far the best in the league – but also boast the 2nd best defence. How do you view the season overall?

Winning any premiership is a fantastic achievement but to win it two years in a row is not only testament to a great physical and technical ability but also more importantly an amazing mental strength to keep backing up week in week out when every other team is out to gun down the champions. We set out to be the best attacking team in the league and have worked very hard on our styles of attacking play so to get that many goals is really rewarding but the best part is there is still much room for improvement from this excellent group of players leading into the future.

3. You play an entertaining brand of football. Is that something you have focused on trying to do?

We set out from the very beginning with an attacking philosophy and selected players based on their ability to attack from anywhere on the field. We have had 8 different goalscorers in the comp in only 10 games and fullbacks and holding midfielders who have contributed to over 50% of the assists so that really is the most pleasing aspect of this team-s performance and style of play.

4. Your team contains a host of stars in Kyah Simon, Heather Garriock, Kylie Ledbrook and Leena Khamis but also young guns Teigan Allen and Caitlin Foord. You must be extremely happy with the performances from both your senior players as well as the young ones this year?

It really has been a fantastic all round team effort so far this year from the whole squad. They have all played their part. Whilst we have some more experienced players we also have a lot of great depth with our youngsters which hopefully means we will be a strong team for years to come beyond 2011.

5. What will be the key things Sydney FC must execute heading into this Sunday-s semi-final against Melbourne?

Once again our composure and execution in the front 1/3 will be the key for us. I am sure we will create some opportunities but in a knockout finals match you really need to punish the opposition when you can. We have been a bit guilty of letting teams off the hook in recent weeks and finishing the games off when we could of. So hopefully we will continue to create and be attacking minded but also show some quality when needed in and around the penalty box

6. What will you tell the girls about what to expect from Melbourne?

We had a really tight game against them earlier this year so they will hold no surprises for us. We were leading 2-1 into the last minute of normal time and scored 2 goals in injury time which flattered us a bit. So we all know it will be tough and also know they will have nothing to lose and in a one-off knockout encounter anything is possible so our concentration and motivation will need to be at their optimum for the entire 90 or 120 mins.

7. It-s been a phenomenal two seasons for you and the team. Thinking back to the that first game (a 3-1 loss) almost 2 years ago. Did you think you could achieve such great success?

We always set high goals with this group of players but they really have done a remarkable job and fully deserve the success they have so far achieved. I was always confident in their abilities but I was also confident because I know how hard they have worked and dedicated they have been to reaching their goals.

8. Lastly, can you shed some light on the amazing commitment the girls have shown to get the team to where it is now?

All these girls commit more to football and this team than anyone could possibly imagine. Furthermore, We have achieved what we have on the lowest of budgets. Players are putting in a full seasons work this year which included a 12 week pre season and 14 week competition (6 months in total) for extremely low payment. So my admiration for the work, training and commitment to this team and their careers cannot be easily described in words other than to say I am proud to be a part of the efforts they put in week in week out.