Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo has downplayed the return of former Roar manager Rado Vidosic to Suncorp Stadium this Saturday night, saying it’s business as usual for the Queenslanders in their home opener against Sydney FC.
Vidosic was moved aside as Roar manager following a lacklustre opening to last year’s campaign, later departing the club to reunite with former Roar boss Frank Farina as an assistant at Sydney FC.
The match-up is reminiscent of Roar’s 2012 home opener when the then defending champions welcomed back Ange Postecoglou, who had departed for Melbourne Victory only days after Roar’s second consecutive Grand Final win.
Roar rode a wave of emotion and a parochial 17000-strong home crowd to win that match 5-0, however Theo said Roar weren’t focused on Vidosic’s return as they prepare for this weekend’s match-up.
“Rado’s obviously been here for seven or eight years. He’s been fantastic for us,” Theo said of his former gaffer.
“It’s great for Sydney to have picked someone up like Rado, his ilk, but for us it’s just business as usual.”
“Last year we had Ange come and it’s always going to happen, so for us it’s just about making sure we do the job on Saturday.”
Theo alluded to Roars’ stuttering start to last year’s campaign under Vidosic, losing six of their opening eleven matches, and said it was a position the team didn’t want to be in again this year.
“Hopefully we get a good start because it’s very important in this league that you start well. We saw last year having a slow start you sort of play catch-up football and we want to make sure we’re one of the pace-setters.”
Roar were one of three sides to win during the A-League’s opening weekend, and the 32 year old shot-stopper said he was happy with his efforts in the 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.
“There was a couple of crucial saves at 1-1 and 1-0 down, so I was happy I made those saves but more importantly that we came away with the three points just to give us that bit of morale and a bit of reward for our pre-season and the hard work we did put in,” Theo said.
“Being the first game everyone was a bit rusty but there were some good signs and moving forward hopefully that holds us in good stead.”
Sydney’s formation will be lead once again by superstar striker Alessando Del Piero, who scored a goal and set-up the other in his side’s 2-0 opening night win against Newcastle Jets.
Theo said he and his teammates were looking forward to testing themselves against the man many now simply refer to as ‘ADP’.
“It’s great to challenge yourself and you want to challenge yourself against the best players and obviously Alessandro is one of the best players in the world,” Theo conceded.
“We want these kind of players playing on our shores and if they can get extra people to the games and help with the quality of our product I’m all for it.”
Theo said he expected a large crowd for the season opener, helped in part by the presence of the Italian fan favourite.
“Obviously when he comes there is an extra 4000-5000 just to see Alessandro play; but in saying that, Emile Heskey’s played his part and Ono from Western Sydney, so it’s great that marquee players of that calibre see that and want to come to our shores.”
“The league’s only growing and getting stronger and the more those types of players come the better it is, not only for the fans, but also the players playing against world class players and wanting to be the best we can.”