Post-Match Interview with NPSL Head Coach Austin Levins
R: So Austin, your first official win as the Quails Coach. Your thoughts?
A: Naturally, I’m delighted to chalk up the win. Hopefully, it’s the start of something bigger, for this group of players.
R: What do you take out of the game, Good and Bad?
A: There’s a lot of positives to take out of things tonight. I am looking for the players to leave personal ego out of their game, and be honest where they are at fitness-wise. If a guy can give me 60, 65, 70 minutes at 100%, and look to the bench knowing it’s time to let a change happen, then he’s a team player, and that’s what this side needs right now. There’s 5 weeks to the start of the season, I don’t need anyone trying to bluff me or AJ. They don’t need to be 90 minute fit now, they need to be peaking just as season starts. I believe tonight was a great indicator of that.
R: You took a deflected-ball hard into the face tonight, the groans of the fans suggested you could have been hurt?
A: Yea it was a proper belter, but being Irish has thought me to take the punches life can throw at you, no glass jaws here! Although my ear was ringing for a good 20 minutes! A lot of modern players would have been rolling on the ground I suppose!
R: You have an extremely large squad right now, when are you going to make cuts?
A: Do I need to right now? These guys are all highly motivated right now. It makes for a competitive environment in training. I suspended 2 players from game-selection this week, because I don’t have to be reliant on them. 27 guys trained during the week, do you think any one of these players doesn’t want to be part of the match-day roster?
R: So you’re saying no one should get complacent about their place?
R: Has there been complacency, is that how we interpret that answer?
A: I think so. That would be my read on it. I think there’s been a few players who thought they could just breeze back into training when it suited them. But if there is any, at this point, it would be very delusional. No player is bigger than the team, or this club. I dropped players out of the starting eleven tonight, based on their training performances this week. If you don’t want to put the work in like the others, you will be dropped.
R: There certainly seems to be a different mind-set in the last few weeks, do you think your approach is going to see an improvement in league form?
A: My approach is simple, I’m doing everything that has seen the teams I’ve coached previously win games and win medals. It’s not rocket science, it’s player-centred and player-focused. What they (the players) choose to do when they are out on the field is their decision. If I don’t like what they are choosing to do, I make substitutions, it’s not exactly mind-blowing managerial philosophy.
R: Final question, your first Official win as the new NPSL Coach. 5 weeks to the start of the season, what can Quails fans expect for the NPSL season?
A: A lot more graft, a lot more of the squad being 90-minute fit, a side that doesn’t dip in energy at 70 – 75 minutes, substitutes who will enter the field literally bursting for the chance, a team that can win games in added-time because they believe they can, and have the energy and fitness to do so. I think the word privilege is what I’m aspiring for, that the players understand the privilege that it is, to wear the Quails jersey. This team will be an inspiration for our youth players, role models as such. They will show that Hard Work will always beat Talent, when Talent doesn’t Work Hard.
R: Interesting, that does prompt an “added-time” question so. What will be the mark of a successful NPSL season?
A: The mark of a successful season? Is that what you’re asking. It’ll be winning the respect of previous opponents who think all they have to do, is show up against us. That they’re on some sort of perch over us as a club. Any team thinking they are on some sort of perch over us, better get themselves set to be knocked off it, and you can quote me on that.