Brisbane Roar coach Rado Vidosic senses there are mind games at play as tensions simmer ahead of Ange Postecoglou's first visit to Suncorp Stadium since leaving for Melbourne Victory.
After Besart Berisha declared his former boss was in his crosshairs and Thomas Broich said Vidosic had always been "the brains" behind the club's two A-League championships, a bristling Postecoglou hit back on Thursday night.
He told Brisbane radio station 4BC that he was surprised at some of the comments emerging from his old club and found them "distasteful" and "disrespectful".
An assistant for seven years before taking over at the helm of Brisbane this season, Vidosic moved to calm relations with his predecessor ahead of a Saturday night showdown that threatens to boil over.
He suggested that Postecoglou's reaction may be intended to rattle some of his old charges.
"People try to do things from a psychological point of view that maybe can unsettle the opponents. That's (how) I look into it," Vidosic said.
"People try to get on each other's nerves. It's normal gameplay. We've seen that in the past and it's going to happen in the future. It's nothing to really worry about."
If it was ever in doubt, Postecoglou can now expect a predominantly negative reception from Roar fans with some still unhappy with the manner of his departure.
Mere hours before signing on with Victory in April, he told supporters at a ticker-tape parade celebrating Brisbane's second consecutive Grand Final win: "Why not, let's make it three."
Vidosic said the players that Postecoglou walked away from now play for him.
"Ange has been here and we were very successful under him. But Ange is gone," he said.
"Ange takes a lot of credit – it was his team, I was his assistant, I did what he asked me to do.
"We had a great relationship. I was disappointed that he left, so I wish him good luck - not tomorrow, but for the rest of the season.
"(The players are) still playing for the same club, the same colours. Whoever the coach is, they play for the new coach. There should be absolutely no sentiment for anyone.
"If it is Ange or someone else on the sideline, it doesn't matter – we want to win this game and we're going to win the game."
Erik Paartalu, whose career has thrived since he was brought to Brisbane by Postecoglou and deployed in a key role in central midfield, said it was time to get on with the job at hand.
"It was bound to happen. Obviously Ange is coaching another team now. We've all moved on," Paartalu said.
"That's the way football works. I'm not interested in making comparisons between the two coaches. I have great respect for both men."