BACK-to-back A-League champions Brisbane Roar have adopted a siege mentality leading into their match against Newcastle Jets on Saturday as cracks start to appear at the club following a dreadful start to the season.
New coach Rado Vidosic and players were off limits yesterday and it was left to assistant coach Jeff Hopkins to face the media.
Hopkins admitted the club was ‘‘not a happy place’’ and conceded there was bitterness in the dressing room after senior player Erik Paartalu openly criticised Vidosic.
Paartalu reacted badly to Vidosic’s outburst against the champions on Sunday when he labelled Brisbane’s play against Central Coast as silly, naive and of a kindergarten standard.
Paartalu called for greater positivity from Vidosic, the Roar’s long-time former assistant coach who has struggled to continue the success predecessor Ange Postecoglou enjoyed.
A member of the leadership group, Paartalu said the club needed to ‘‘stick together’’.
‘‘I think everyone needs to remember that – coach, manager, staff included,’’ he told fourfourtwo.com.
‘‘Blaming people, making accusations and negative comments isn’t going to get anybody anywhere.’’
Paartalu’s attack comes after talk of a bust-up between Vidosic and Mitch Nichols.
This resulted in Nichols being dumped for their 4-2 victory over Sydney FC almost two weeks ago.
That and the 5-0 thrashing of Postecoglou’s new club, Melbourne Victory, are the only two wins the Roar have enjoyed under Vidosic, hailed as the ‘‘brains’’ behind their 2010-11 and 2011-12 success by star import Thomas Broich just last month.
Paartalu also called for young Japanese defender Yuji Takahashi to play against the Jets after being overlooked so far this season.
While Hopkins stressed the tensions would be dealt within-house, he said there was plenty of work to be done.
‘‘It’s not really a happy place but we’re still a united place,’’ Hopkins said. ‘‘We all want the same thing – we want to get back on track, we want to work hard at getting more consistent performances.
‘‘Look, I’d be lying if I said everyone is happy. We’re not happy, we’re at the wrong end of the league at the moment, but we’re still a united change room.’’
Hopkins wants match officials to give fiery striker Besart Berisha protection after Newcastle skipper Jobe Wheelhouse said they would aim to get under the Albanian international’s skin.
‘‘For someone to come out and say the focus of the game is going to be to wind up one of our players to try and tip them over the edge is disappointing,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink said he would bring the curtain down on his career at the end of the season.
Hiddink, now coaching in Russia, took the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup finals.