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Aloisi confident Grand Final win will prompt Western United growth

More than two years after undergoing heart surgery, head coach John Aloisi was able to look forward to building on expansion club Western United's unexpected A-League championship triumph over defending champions Melbourne City on Saturday.

At the end of his first full season in charge of the fledgling outfit, Aloisi steered United to a 2-0 victory in the Grand Final, having made a full recovery from an operation in 2020 to repair a tear in a mitral valve.

The title win came at the third club of Aloisi's coaching career when, after spells with Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar, his health scare served as motivation to step into the dugout once more.

"I was sitting in my hospital bed nearly three years ago and it was more, 'I want to coach. I need to coach because I know I've got a lot more left in me and a lot more to achieve and I believe that'," Aloisi told reporters.

"I was just waiting for the right opportunity and someone giving me that opportunity to coach. Then, once you're in a job, it's not about you, it's about the team, the club and what we're trying to achieve as a club.

"So yes, it's satisfying on a personal basis, but it's more satisfying because I see all the hard work that goes into a new club.

"Sometimes we're playing in Ballarat in front of, I don't know, 500 people so to win this will help us grow as a football club."

Aloisi's recovery has been matched by the rise of Western United, a club that only debuted in the A-League in 2019 and still lacks the identity of neighbours Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.

But what United lack in support from the stands has been more than compensated for by astute management and recruitment.

Serbian striker Aleksandar Prijovic, signed ahead of the new season from Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad, has been a revelation in the playoffs, scoring twice in the semi-final win over Victory before also netting against City on Saturday.

The club is "only three seasons old, and to be able to do what we did, not only tonight but from the beginning of the season, is amazing," said Aloisi.

"It was an amazing feeling, an amazing night and I'm so happy for the club as a whole.

"We never spoke about no one believing in us. It was more about us believing in ourselves. It was more about us working towards something.

"We didn't care about what others were saying and if we did I don't think we'd be in this situation because you get too worried about what people think of you. We just worried about ourselves, worked hard every day and we get the rewards."

Source: Reuters


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