With a foundation steeped in pragmatic football, Western Sydney Wanderers used the opportunity of a coaching upheaval to accelerate their project towards playing an attractive, attacking style of play and that's why their chairman says it was a simple choice to hire Josep Gombau as their new head coach.
A month-long search for Tony Popovic's successor came to an end on Wednesday morning when the Wanderers unveiled the former Adelaide United and Olyroos coach as their new coach, hired on a three-year contract. The club received a flurry of applications from Australia and abroad but went with Gombau not only due to his knowledge and experience within Australian football, but also his football philosophy being aligned with their desire to produce players and play an attractive style.
"We took our time - we took a long time - and without question I like to think that he's the best man for the job, I know he's the best man for the job," he said. "In the end it was quite a simple decision to be honest."
Gombau indicated he will not hold on to systems established by former coach Popovic. Rather, he will take his time to establish a style hinged on fast-paced, possession football with an emphasis on attacking.
"Every coach has his method. I think I have the method to play attacking football. What the club achieved in the last five years is amazing but now we start a new era," he said. "Firstly we want to play the way I believe football is. That is to play attacking football, to have possession of the ball, to be aggressive when we don't have the ball to play on the other side of the field attacking always."
Gombau will be given the freedom to appoint his own assistants though caretaker coach Hayden Foxe will likely remain at the club as part of the coaching set-up. Foxe will be in charge of the Wanderers for Monday's match away to Melbourne Victory before Gombau will take the reigns immediately after.
Gombau coached the Reds from 2013 to 2015 and won the inaugural FFA Cup before he departed for a youth coaching position in the US. He returned to Australian soccer in June last year, with Socceroos coach Ange Postecolgou endorsing his selection as part of the Australian national teams' set-up.
FFA CEO David Gallop paid tribute to Gombau for his services to the Olyroos.
"Josep has made a very positive contribution to our national teams since joining us last year," said Gallop.
"Although it is disappointing to see a coach of Josep's calibre leave FFA it is heartening to know that he will remain within Australian football and we wish him all the best for his new challenge."
Hayden Foxe has been acting as caretaker since Popovic, the club's inaugural head coach, announced a week before the season started he was leaving to take over at Turkish club Karabukspor. It's understood Foxe will remain with the club as an assistant.
The Wanderers are away at Melbourne Victory on Monday night in round five of the A-League.
2003-2009: Barcelona youth teams
2009-2013: Kitchee (Hong Kong) head coach
2013-2015: Adelaide United head coach
2016-2017: Olyroos coach and Socceroos assistant coach
Hong Kong First Division: 2010/11, 2011/12
Hong Kong FA Cup: 2011/12, 2012/13
Hong Kong League Cup: 2011/12
FFA Cup: 2014