New Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay has told fans he will be in the New Zealand capital for the ‘long haul’ as he expressed confidence that top scorer Roy Krishna will remain at the club.
Talay, 43, addressed the media on Friday for the first time since taking the reins from Mark Rudan.
Rudan – announced as inaugural coach of Western United on Thursday – quit Phoenix one season into his two-year contract due to the emotional toll of living away from his family.
But Talay was quick to underline his commitment to building on the foundations laid by Rudan, who guided Phoenix to a sixth-place finish in 2018/19.
“I’m here for the long haul,” Talay said.
“I’ve shown that by bringing my family over to Wellington – they will be coming over in late September or later in the year.
"I'm not using Wellington Phoenix as a stepping stone, I really believe this club has a great future moving forward and I want to be part of that future."
This is Talay’s first full-time role as head coach, after he spent time as an assistant with Sydney United 58, the FFA Centre of Excellence and Australia U-17 and U-20 teams, and most recently as Steve Corica’s right-hand man at Sydney FC in 2018/19.
His first assignment at Phoenix will be to rebuild a threadbare squad which has been hit hard by post-season player departures.
"I look at it as a good thing that I can build a team the way that I want to play the game," Talay said.
"Players need to fit in to what I believe the game looks like.”
Keeping Johnny Warren Medal winner Roy Krishna will also be high on his list of priorities.
"The conversations we've had with Roy are very positive. We've just given him time to sit back and absorb and think about what he wants to do with his future,” Talay said.
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“You can't take away that he's had a sensational season, and when you have a good season your best players are going to be up there for pickings from other clubs. But Roy, if he decides to stay in the A-League, will be staying with Wellington Phoenix."