Riera era begins

Words: ACFC Media

Monday 13 December 2021

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Albert Riera era at Auckland City FC is up and running after the 37-year-old ran the rule over his squad last week at the Croatian Club.

Riera, who made 142 appearances as a player for Auckland City FC, left the club eight months ago to take up a coaching role at West Coast Rangers.

Now as head coach of the Navy Blues, Riera says he's finding the transition going as he expected.

"It's been a very natural transition to be honest. I know the players very well already and they know me and I believe its very important that I am myself and not pretend to be something I am not.

"I told the players that I am going to make mistakes (as a new coach) but I can promise them I am going to try my best everyday.

"Mutual communication and understanding is key from day one and the players have made it very easy for me.

"The players have brought a lot of intensity to the sessions and that's been excellent to see," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.

With Auckland coming out of 107 days lockdown and into the traffic light system the squad has manifested a high octane approach on the training pitch.

Riera says the challenge hasn't been to get the players going again, it's been to get them to pace themselves.

"It's very frustrating to be in a lockdown for everyone, especially when you aren't really sure about what could happen.

"But I was amazed at the energy the players have brought to the table.

"We (the coaches) have to be the ones to say to the players, 'hey, you've been in lockdown a long time, take it easy'.

"But you can tell they've been away a long time and can't wait to train and play.

"We're building up their fitness and its great to see them enjoy their work," he said.

With the Covid-19 world so uncertain and last year's withdrawal from the Club World Cup still fresh in the mind, Riera says managing expectations is important.

It's his desire to see his team stay focused on what's immediately in front of them while also understanding its human nature to look to the horizon.

He says training sessions are providing the key to balancing things out.

"Football gives you a focus in every training session. In life, you don't really know what's going to happen tomorrow. You have to make sure in the day that you do your best.

"Its natural for the players to have the FIFA Club World Cup in the back of their heads but we can't get too far ahead of ourselves we have to be focused in the moment.

"It's a learning process for everyone. This club has not been in this position before. We used to have the NZFC to play in in the summer and now we haven't played competitive games for a long time.

"The first thing I did was talk to our coaches about how we don't want to overload the players with too much, too soon.

"It's important that they get the opportunity for a break over the holiday period but they will also have some fitness programmes they have to follow.

"Once we're back, we're all in for the FIFA Club World Cup."


For more about the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021™ visit here.

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