Mike Mulvey says the Brisbane Roar have enough quality in their squad to defend their A-League title despite the exits of Besart Berisha and Ivan Franjic.
Coach Mike Mulvey says a winning culture will help A-League champions Brisbane Roar cope with the loss of star striker Besart Berisha and World Cup defender Ivan Franjic.
Berisha (Melbourne Victory) and Franjic (Torpedo Moscow) departed after helping the Roar beat Western Sydney Wanderers in last season’s grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
And Mulvey will also start the season without the services of goalkeeper Michael Theo, the A-League’s most decorated player, who’ll miss three months of action with a broken wrist.
However, the coach is confident the Roar can continue from where they left off last year when they finished 10 points clear at the top of the table.
“Michael has won five grand finals and Ivan and Besart five between them, so that’s a lot of experience that we don’t have to call on,” Mulvey told AAP.
“But we focus on not who’s not there but who is, and it’s someone else that steps up to the plate.”
The Roar have been relatively quiet on the transfer front heading into the new season with the versatile Adam Sarota, returning on loan from Dutch club Utrecht, and Macedonian international striker Mensur Kurtishi the only major arrivals.
But Mulvey said it was more important to bring in the right type of players than simply splash out on big-name signings for a short-term fix.
“They have to be of the right character and fit in with the culture at the football club,” Mulvey said.
“Sometime when you bring someone to your club like Mensur from Europe, you have to give them time to acclimatise and develop.
“He’s got an opportunity now and it’s the same for whoever takes the field on Sunday.
“The demands of our fans are that we play with a swagger but the core thing is that we work hard and play as a team first.”
Journeyman goalkeeper Jamie Young will replace Theo between the sticks and Mulvey said the 29-year-old, who returns to Australia after 12 years of playing in the English professional lower leagues, is a more than adequate replacement.
“He got a long list of clubs but he’s a great character, he’s a good keeper, only 29 and he fits in with what we want,” he said.
“He signed as a No.2 at the start of pre-season. He was at Reading for a while when they were in the Championship and we’re confident he will do a job for us while Theo is out.”