Western United Head Coach John Aloisi praised his players for ending the Isuzu UTE A-League Men season on a high last weekend and said this season will not be remembered as a failure if the team is able to learn from its mistakes.
Goals from Ben Garuccio and Noah Botic secured a 2-1 win over Perth Glory on Saturday night in the final match of the season, leaving United in seventh place on the table.
Speaking to media after the match, Aloisi said he was pleased that his players remained committed to the best possible end to the campaign and said the entire Club will learn from the season as a whole.
“We wanted to finish the season on a high. We knew before the game obviously we weren’t going to be able to make the six, but it was important to us to finish as high as possible,” he said.
“We’ll learn from things that we could’ve done better from pre-season and during the season, but tonight we showed we’re a team that can go anywhere, play good football and win games.”
While asserting that missing out on the Isuzu UTE A-League Finals Series was a disappointing outcome for the team, Aloisi stopped short of marking the season as a failure so long as the Club can learn and improve next season.
“We wanted to make finals and we wanted to be there challenging. We had a disrupted pre-season and there’s things that we’ll go back and reflect and look at,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a failure, I’ll say it’s only a failure if you don’t learn from your mistakes and we have to learn from them, not just as a football team but as a whole club. I’m sure we’ll be challenging next season.”
Western United’s culture was frequently spoken of throughout the Club’s Championship run in 2021/22, and Aloisi called upon it early on when United stumbled out of the blocks.
Reaching the end of the season with five wins in the final nine rounds to finish just three points outside of the top six, Aloisi said he was pleased that team was able to once again lean on its togetherness and spirit when facing adversity.
“At the start of the season we only had one point from our first five games, then it’s difficult to catch up. But what we have done is show great character,” he said.
“I said last season it’s always easier to show what character your team’s got when you’re winning. But this year, we really had to dig deep. We showed we don’t give up, we’ll keep fighting and we’ll build those foundations”
Next season will be increasingly significant for Western United as it prepares to move into its new, permanent home in Tarneit.
With the prospect of playing at home in front of the very people the Club represents, Aloisi is boisterous about the future for the Green and Black.
“That is huge for us. If we can get our games out at Tarneit and create a fortress, that small boutique stadium where you get five to six thousand people, they’ll be on top of you and they’ll drive you home,” he said.
“We’ll have our games in our heartland and (in front of) who we represent. That’s what we want, that’s what we need and that will help us build as a football club.”
Aloisi will look ahead to a busy off-season period as he looks to perfect his squad for the 2023/24 campaign, one that he will hope brings about a return of finals football.