Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou would like a clear directive as to what is considered more important the Premier's Plate or a grand final win.
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou would like a clear directive as to what is considered more important the Premier's Plate or a grand final win, the recent decision by the AFC to cull A-League ACL places further muddying the waters.
Potecoglou's former club Brisbane Roar have been deprived of direct entry to the group stages of the continental competition despite winning last year's Hyundai A-League grand final, after the Asian Football Confederation cut the Australia's allocation from two spots and one play-off place down to one of each.
Premiers Plate winners Central Coast Mariners will inherit the place in next season's main draw, with the Roar now having to progress through the play-offs to qualify.
A two-time championship-winning coach with Brisbane, Postecoglou was fuming that clubs had no direction on what they were playing for.
"I just think it's confusing. I think every club, every player, every supporter wants their team to win, and to strive for something, and I don't think it's clearly defined right now," Postecoglou said at Gosch's Paddock on Thursday.
"I'm not sure who's supposed to deal with that, usually it's your own competition that does that ... I've been bemused by the whole thing all week. I'm surprised even Brisbane have taken it lying down to be honest, I wouldn't have. I'd almost pull out of the comp."
Postecoglou said he just wanted to know what the aim of the A-League season was, so he could set about trying to reach Asian football's premier club competition.
"My biggest problem with all that is, and it's been a constant gripe of mine ... I just want to know who the champion is," Postecoglou said.
"We're in a race, and there's two different finish lines and everyone's got an opinion, but in my mind the champion for our league has always been the one that wins our grand final.
"So I am totally bemused as to how we can take somebody else's definition of that. It's pretty simple in my mind, I just want to know what competition I'm in, what I'm going for because otherwise ... I don't want to be 78 in a retirement home, having to ring up people to see whether I've won something or not."
Ahead of their date with the second-placed Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday, Postecoglou revealed Adama Traore would not be fit in time to face the Reds and would be replaced by youngster Sam Gallagher at left-back.
Gallagher was red-carded early into his club debut against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 8 - a game Victory went on to win 2-0 despite their numerical disadvantage for much of the contest. But Postecoglou said the 21-year-old would fill Traore's void.
"[Traore has] had a bit of a quad strain last week, and he hasn't trained at all. We were hoping he'd get out there today [Thursday], but he was still a bit sore ... if we throw him out there, we might lose him for five or six [matches] or we'll have to do without him," he said.
Star midfielder Marcos Flores will return to Hindmarsh for the first time since leaving the Reds; the club at which he won the Johnny Warren Medal.
But Postecoglou did not buy into suggestions the fixture would represent anything special for the Argentine.
"I expect what I expect every week from Marcos," he said.
"I don't think he's building himself up any differently to this game, to any other game. I'd be disappointed if he was.
"He's been really good for us the last 2-3 weeks, his fitness is now at a good level. He's able to do more in the role we want him to, so he's an important part of what we do, no doubt ... hopefully he has a positive influence on the game for us."