DURING some of last season training sessions at Sydney FC you would have seen curious fans chased away with a stick and players reprimanded for laughing by the old coach.
With the two new Queensland teams, Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury hogging the headlines at their first training session, Sydney FC's first training session featured a private group session where the coach revealed his philosophy to the players and a strong promise that the club will improve on last season's performance.
During the first training session there were no sightings of sticks or attempts to stop the players from laughing.
The perception of the new coach is that he will let his results on the field do the talking.
Somehow I doubt champions Melbourne Victory and unofficial favourites Gold Coast United will fear the mantra of new Sydney FC coach Viteslav Lavicka:
"Little by little, step by step" seems to be the Czech championships winning favourite line to use so far, when dealing with the media..
It's a rather large step away from former coach Branko Culina who said that Sydney FC where the "Manchester United of the A-League".
Rather than talking up the prospects of being champions or going through undefeated like the Gold Coast chairman Clive Palmer has gone on record as saying.
One suspects that this season Sydney FC will focus on training hard, producing quality performances on the field and getting back that team spirit and unity that was missing in previous seasons.
"Little by little, step by step, we need to improve on last year and with unity I am sure that we will realise our ambition," Lavicka said.
"I spoke to the players before training today and told them what my philosophy is."
There'll be no rest for the Sydney FC squad, the Sky blues will have to get used to an Eastern European training regime and will have eight training sessions in the first week back on the field.
With two players left to fill the playing roster, the recent talk about Brazilians Denilson and Roque Junior recently revealed has cooled and Lavicka perhaps intends to search more locally for these players.
"We have time to recognise these players," Lavicka said after his first training session today. "We'll see, maybe we'll have a look at some good players [from the NSW league] and we can invite them for a test and maybe for the contract signing."
Last season Sydney FC struggled to find openings for their strikers John Aloisi, Mark Bridge and Alex Brosque. With the arrival of Karol Kisel from Sparta Prague and seeing him line up in an attacking midfield role during his first training session, Sydney's strikers will hope they receive better service this season.
"I'm really glad to come here, and I'm proud to be a part of Sydney so I enjoy it," said the 32-year old midfielder at the end of the session.
"I know Sydney FC is one of the best clubs. They had not so good season last year so we're going to change it this year.
Kisel continued: "I've come here to score goals and win another league title (to go with the Czech championship he won with Sparta Prague in 2007).
"I'm the club's foreigner certainly (so I can expect pressure) but it is always like this, everywhere in Europe and also in Australia."
Kisel who was first rumoured to be a left sided defender sees his role more in midfield:
"It does not matter where I play. I prefer to play as a central or right-sided midfielder but it is up to the coach and depending on the tactics he chooses."
So with over three months to go before the season proper begins the inaugural champions of the A-League maybe be taking a softly softly approach, however the new owners will hope a good run of early results will see the fans flooding back, hopefully this time they won't be beaten away with a stick