The season may only be three rounds in and there may still be a mammoth amount of football to be played, but the Reds have not been on top of the Hyundai A-League pile since October 2010 and Golec has not intentions of giving it up this weekend.
Preparing for the visit of the Phoenix, Golec, who has featured in the heart of defence in all three of United’s matches to date, conceded the Reds were well below their best in the loss to Melbourne Victory last Friday night.
In what was the club’s first defeat of the season as Melbourne came from a goal down to win 2-1, Golec said the players would certainly spend time focusing on being tighter defensively, but at the same time they were remaining upbeat about their standing after three games.
“It comes down to that split decision making. One minute we were up and all it takes is just one chance and the other team is in, so we’ll be looking to improve at the back,” Golec said.
“But I think we’ve been doing well as a team there collectively and we’re still at the top of the table.”
“I think as a team we’ve got to defend a bit better, be a bit more desperate…but there were some positives to take out of the last game.”
His determination for the Reds to stay on top of the table also carries somewhat a double meaning on a personal level for Golec, who is doing his utmost to ensure he keeps his place in the Reds’ starting eleven.
While his chance to break into the side came at the expense of a cruel stroke of luck to Iain Fyfe, who was suspended for the Reds’ opening game of the Hyundai A-League season after being sent off in the AFC Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg against Bunyodkor, Golec is not about to make it easy for Coach John Kosmina to replace him.
“I got my chance and I’m just trying to keep it,” Golec said.
“I didn’t have the best of seasons when I was at Sydney FC so I’m just looking to make up for lost time, but it helps when you have great players around you and good coaching staff, so I can’t complain.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s opponents, Wellington is the only team still undefeated after the opening three rounds following a win and two draws. Of these results, it included fighting out a 1-1 with Melbourne Heart despite having six senior players away on international duty, while they also took a point against reigning champions Brisbane Roar last weekend.
Being on the other side of the Tasman Sea may contribute to why Ricki Herbert’s men often fly under the radar, but Golec emphasised the Reds would definitely not be taking the Phoenix lightly on Saturday.
“We’re going to look to win. It’s a home game for us against Wellington but they’ve been doing really well and held Brisbane to a draw last weekend,” Golec said.
“We’ll be looking for the three points to hopefully stay at the top, all of the boys are up for it but we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
“They (Wellington) have had a core group of players for the past three or four seasons so it has helped them a lot. They know each other well and they know the style they want to play.”
“There is (Paul) Ifill, there is the young guy (Louis) Fenton, they’ve got a whole list of players who are dangerous so we’re going to have to be on our toes in every position.”
Kick-Off is at 5.00pm and tickets are available through Ticketek.