JETS winger Andrew Nabbout hates to see anyone lose their job and believes the axing of coach Mark Jones has put everyone at the club on notice.
Jones was sacked on Sunday, less than 24 hours after a 2-0 defeat to Sydney made it six straight losses to end the season and ensured the Jets collected the wooden spoon.
At McDonald Jones Stadium on Tuesday for the launch of a pre-season friendly against Chilean side Audax Italiano, Nabbout said he was shocked by the coach’s exit.
“It is disappointing for anyone to lose their job. You wouldn’t wish it upon anyone,” he said. “I know what it is like at that end of the spectrum. It is no secret that our last couple of months were pretty rough. It is not ideal to keep changing coaches but ultimately that decision comes from above. I wish Jonesy all the best and appreciate the effort he put in to us this year. I guess we have to move on. That is football.”
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna has started compiling a shortlist of potential coaches, which he will present to owner Martin Lee.
As well as a new coach, the Jets have 10 players off contract.
Nabbout, who was one of the shining lights this season, is signed until the end of next season but is not taking everything for granted.
“After the last couple of months everyone is on notice,” he said. “Performances haven’t been like they were mid-season. A new coach is going to bring in new ideas. The ideal situation would be to start the pre-season with whoever they have appointed. Regardless of who they bring in, it is up to us to prove ourselves again.”
Nabbout was happy to have proved “people wrong” in his return season to the A-League after spending a year in Malaysia but was disappointed with the way it tailed out.
“People wrote me off at the start of the season,” he said. “I was a Victory reject and could not make it in the A-League. I have proven a fair few people wrong this year and I am going to give it everything I have next year to keep proving them wrong.”
However, he was distraught at full-time on Saturday after missing a penalty that would have put the Jets in the lead before half-time.
“Players all around the world miss penalties but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to swallow,” he said. “It really cut me deep, especially knowing it was a chance for us to get off the bottom [of the ladder].”
The friendly against four-time Chilean champions on July 8 will be the new coach’s first game in charge.
“South American teams are generally well drilled and technically gifted,” he said. “It is only a week into our pre-season but hopefully we can get a winning mentality straight away.”
Consul-General to Australia Humberto Molina said there were about 37,000 Chileans living in Australia and expected the game to be well supported.
“Soccer is a very important game in Chile,” he said. “I’m sure this will be a wonderful event.”