Adelaide United interim coach Michael Valkanis has rejected claims that he played in part in John Kosmina’s exit from the club.
Valkanis took over on Monday after Kosmina turned his back on the Reds and resigned citing a ‘lack of trust’ from the club’s hierarchy.
Kosmina’s unexpected resignation came just three days after United suffered a crushing 3-1 defeat to league leaders Central Coast and slipped to fourth on the A-League table.
Despite mounting speculation, Valkanis denied that he plotted to overthrow Kosmina and said he was always a long-term supporter of his mentor.
“I have great respect for Kossie … I’ve played under him and played good football,” Valkanis said.
“I worked very hard under him as an assistant coach and did everything that he asked me to do, and even more sometimes.
“It’s difficult circumstances with how it’s all come up, and we weren’t expecting Kossie to resign.
“The club’s fourth on the ladder and in the coming weeks he was supposed to have a chat about moving forward.
“I never had spoken to the club about next year. I never had spoken to the club about the head coaching role and the club never spoke to me.
“For me, I was always the assistant and youth team coach and I really enjoyed that role.”
Following a whirlwind 24 hours, Valkanis said he had not yet spoken to Kosmina since leaving the club but would in due course once the ‘dust settled’.
The 38-year-old said his main priority was to maintain the Reds’ finals position and to regenerate club support, which has dwindled.
The former Reds skipper suggested the club’s brand was also in need of repair after it had been damaged this past season following the coaching departures of Kosmina, Rini Coolen and former assistant Luciano Trani.
“I think the only way to fix the brand is to play good football and to win games … we need to find stability … and people believing in us again,” Valkanis said.
“From day one – and I’ve been here since the very first minute of this club – the club has had great support but along the way it has fallen off for whatever reason.
“Everyone has got to jump back up on board. We have a really good squad and a team that is right up there, and for most of the season, had everyone talking about Adelaide United.
“We’ve got to talk about good football and winning games … that’s what we want people talking about and that’s how we are going to fix the image of this club.”
With the January transfer window coming to a close, Valkanis hinted at the possibility of adding some fresh faces to the fold.
However, the caretaker was unsure if that included former Reds striker Sergio van Dijk, who was released from his contract less than a fortnight ago, despite the club’s chairman Greg Griffin suggesting they would consider asking the Dutchman to return on loan.
“If a good opportunity comes up and it’s someone that we know, and we know what sort of footballer he is and character is, then maybe we will discuss and bring someone in, otherwise we won’t take a chance,” Valkanis said.
“If he (Van Dijk) was to come back it would be great, if he’s not coming back then we have to move on and believe in the players we’ve got.”