Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo has commended his back four following his best start to an A-League season since joining Roar three years ago.
Currently sitting on top of the competition ladder, Roar returned three clean sheets from their opening five fixtures and conceded only two goals, and Theo was eager to share the credit for the team’s defensive steel.
“We attack together as a team and we defend together, obviously being the goalkeeper I might get the plaudits for the clean sheets, but I know it’s a collective thing,” Theo said.
“It’s not just me personally, but saying that it’s obviously great to keep clean sheets because obviously if the other team’s not scoring we know we got the fire power to score a goal or two in any game.”
“It’s just great to see every player playing his part.”
Following injuries to regular starters Jade North and Shane Stefanutto, young defenders Corey Brown and James Donachie have slotted seamlessly into the Roar’s defensive structure in recent weeks.
Theo said he was happy to see the younger players rewarded for their efforts on the training pitch early in the season.
“It was great to see James Donachie get his first run of the season. He’s been working so hard through the pre-season, it was great he finally got his opportunity.”
Theo also explained that having a fully fit Matt Smith leading the defensive line was something Roar missed in the latter part of last season.
“Last year we had our captain Matt Smith out for six months, so for us that’s like a new signing.”
“His partnership with Jade North in particular is very solid, so from my perspective I’m pretty fortunate I’ve got some experienced players in front me.”
Roar line-up against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium this weekend, with recently returned marquee striker Emile Heskey recently praising the Roar’s style. The praise caught Theo somewhat off-guard.
“Emile’s been around for a long time and he appreciates the way we play but come Sunday we know where are up for a tough contest,” Theo said.
“Every time we go to Newcastle it’s always tough and there’s not that many goals in it.”
“We know we have to be ready and on our game, make sure that we keep playing the football we’re playing and hopefully generate a few more opportunities and score them.”
Theo later added, “We know we’re getting better, but we’re a long way off to where we want to be. Great signs, but it’s just the start and there’s a long way to go.”