Newcastle Jets midfielder Mateo Poljak says it’s a positive for the players that the club’s new owners have set a target of qualifying for the ACL within three years.
Poljak was on hand on Tuesday as the club’s new owners were announced to a large media contingent at Hunter Stadium.
New Jets owner Martin Lee of the Ledman Group sees ACL qualification in three years as a realistic goal for his new A-League club.
And after a sixth straight year of missing the Hyundai A-League Finals Series, the Jets star feels a line has been drawn and a new era must begin at the club.
“It is [pressure] but that’s something that leads you every day. Because you have that goal, you need to set yourself those goals,” Poljak told www.a-league.com.au.
“I think we need to now step it up. It’s been enough hiding behind all these reasons why [we’ve missed the finals] we didn’t have support; we didn’t have good enough players.
“It’s enough of that and now we definitely have to step up and turn it around. Newcastle Jets belong in that top six or even higher than that in Australian football.
“It’s up to us to embrace that bit of pressure that comes with that new ownership and just show it.”
Football fan Lee, whose company Ledman sponsors the Portuguese second division, owns Chinese second division outfit Shenzhen Renren and has a strategic holding in InFront Sports and Media Group, spoke passionately about making the Jets the team of choice for Chinese fans.
“I believe with him [Lee] on board and them being as serious as they are, to have that positive pressure is quite good,” added Poljak
The Zagreb-born 26-year-old was one of the best performers last season as the club – then under FFA ownership and new coach Scott Miller – battled but fell short of a finals finish.
“To want to work extra hard, to want to show yourself in a better light because maybe his [Lee’s] financial power can bring other players in and you want to make sure you stay here because it’s better than before.
“This positive change of ownership definitely gives us that peace and security, firstly from financial point because you know you are probably going to attract and get better players which gives you a lot of confidence.”