Ange Postecoglou has now had a season to put his stamp on J-League club Yokohama F Marinos and is looking forward to the challenge of further building up.
The former Socceroos coach confirmed on 1116 SEN on Tuesday he had signed a one-year contract extension with Marinos, with his deal to take him through to 2021.
His first season in the J-League was, by his own admission, “weird”, with Marinos finishing the campaign in 12th despite scoring the joint second-most goals in the competition.
Marinos were outscored only by champions Kawasaki Frontale – and by one goal – and were matched by Shimizu S-Pulse on 56.
POTY | Honda doing Honda things. He’s now 4️⃣ points clear of the chasing pack.
— Daily Football Show (@DFS_AUS) December 4, 2018
But despite that, the club part-owned by the City Football Group (CFG) struggled to string consistency together and conceded as many goals as they scored – 56.
Marinos also managed to reach the J-League Cup final but were beaten 1-0 by Shonan Bellmare, who finished the league level on points with Marinos but with an inferior goal difference of -5.
In the end, it was Marinos’ attacking style of play that staved off the threat of the promotion/relegation play-off, a misfortune that ultimately fell to Jubilo Iwata.
With a season down, Postecoglou’s next challenge is to bring in players that suit his style of play and phase out those that do not.
But he is unlikely to target any Australian players due to changes in the J-League’s foreign quota rules for next season.
“It’s a little bit of a tricky because now, they’ve changed the foreigner rules to five foreigners,” Postecoglou told Whately SEN.
“This year it was three foreigners plus you could have one from Asia and that made Australian players or other players in Asia fairly attractive propositions. But now it’s just five foreigners straight, so the Asians don’t get an exemption.
“For us, we’re looking at top quality players and if I was to look at Australians, that would be a regular national team player and they’re tricky to get out sometimes.
“For what we need at the moment – I’m probably in the same boat as the Socceroos at the moment – we need a really good goalscorer.
“As we’ve seen with the Socceroos, that isn’t quite there yet so from our perspective, we’ll probably be looking elsewhere.”
Ultimately, Postecoglou is all too aware that Marinos management, as well as CFG, will be anticipating improvement in the 2019 season.
“I have no doubt the club will be expecting better results next season,”
“I certainly am.”