It only took one training session for new Melbourne Victory recruit Mark Milligan to realise the difference made by the tutelage of manager Ange Postecoglou.
Milligan – who joined Victory from J2.League side JEF United on Wednesday – played for the A-League outfit 10 times on loan last season under then-manager Jim Magilton.
Victory finished the 2011/12 season in eighth position but the arrival of Postecoglou from Brisbane Roar – where he won two consecutive A-League titles – and a raft of impressive signings has lifted the mood among the players, according to the 12-time Socceroo.
"There seems to be a big difference in the change room," Milligan told reporters on Thursday.
"Not that it was bad last time I was here but it just seems a lot more positive. I came in at the back end of not a great season. On the pitch you can see already what Ange is trying to implement with the boys.
"Obviously that's going to take some time to sink in, (but) I think with the long pre-season, that's more than enough time to adjust to what he wants."
The signing of Milligan on a three-year deal completed the club's 23-man squad, with the likes of midfielders Marcos Flores and Guilherme, forward Theo Markelis and defenders Spase Dilevski and Adama Troare all joining in the off-season.
And the former Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets utility is tipping his new side to bounce back strongly after their poor campaign last season.
"One of the reasons for coming home is the changes that have been made and the coach that had come in," he said.
"I want to be successful as an individual and obviously as a team we want to be successful. I know a lot of the boys here and I know how passionate they are as well, so I know how much last season hurt.
"Everyone wants to bounce back and I think traditionally as well, when Melbourne hasn't reached the goals that they've set for that season, they generally bounce back pretty well next season."
The acquisition of Argentine Flores has got Victory fans particularly excited, but he has big boots to fill after Harry Kewell left the club to return to England last month.
And although Milligan admits the loss of Kewell is not ideal, he is very impressed with the club's efforts to replace him.
"Obviously (Kewell) is a massive loss. On the field, he's one of Australia's - if not the - greatest all-time player. I really enjoyed playing with him last season, even if it was just for a short time."
"I learned a lot, and he went into the Socceroos (camp) and showed that no doubt he still has what it takes to play at the top level.
"Any team would consider that (Kewell's departure) a massive loss. But we can't dwell on it, we need to move on and the club's gone out and tried to fill that hole as best they could, and I think they've been very successful."