Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey says the Roar are no one-man team ahead of their A-League season opener against Adelaide.
Don’t call Brisbane Roar a one-man team.
Still, an individual may yet prove the difference in the Roar’s quest to claim four A-League titles in five seasons.
Mulvey has always stuck to his mantra that the team never relied on a specific player for their remarkable success.
And it was a theory that looked set to be tested in Sunday’s season opener against Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium after the loss of not one but three stars – Besart Berisha (Victory), Ivan Franjic (Russia) and ‘keeper Michael Theo (wrist).
However, Mulvey did linger on one name as Brisbane looked set to launch their title defence – Albanian import Mensur Kurtishi.
From the outset Mulvey has been at pains to avoid comparisons with his new recruit and the fellow Albanian striker he replaced – A-League superstar Berisha.
Yet Mulvey could not help give his import a wrap after Kurtishi returned from a whirlwind pre-season visit to Europe a different man.
Mulvey said Kurtishi appeared “distracted” when he first lobbed but all was explained when it emerged their prize recruit was engaged.
“He went back home, got married and is back in Australia with his wife,” Mulvey said.
“He is starting to find his feet now.
“I can sense in him he will be a man for the occasion.
“There’s no exact science selecting someone from overseas but he had something about him.”
But still don’t call Roar a one trick pony – a point Mulvey hopes to again ram home as they deal with life without Berisha, Franjic and, for the next five weeks at least, Theo.
Former England Youth international Jamie Young is tipped to replace Theo.
“Theo has five grand final wins, the two boys who left had five grand final wins between them – that’s 10 grand final wins, it’s a lot of know how,” Mulvey said.
“There is a level of uncertainty, who is going to step up, who is going to take the mantle.
“But this is not a one man club, not a one trick pony.
“We have quality across the park. It’s about stepping up on Sunday.”
Brisbane still have a world class line-up with two-time Johnny Warren Medal winner Thomas Broich, captain Matt Smith and midfielders Matt McKay, Luke Brattan and loan signing Adam Sarota.
But Kurtishi will be under pressure to perform against an Adelaide United outfit that has lost just three of their 14 Suncorp Stadium games.
Oh, and all five of Brisbane’s A-League goals against Adelaide United last season came from Victory recruit Berisha.
“We have had some disruptions,” Mulvey said.
“But we are a ‘no excuse’ team.
“Instead of excuses we are going to use them as reasons why we need to roll up our sleeves and play a bit smarter and a bit harder.”