FUTURE STARS: New Pride coach Sergio Raimundo is excited by the talent at his disposal.
FUTURE STARS: New Pride coach Sergio Raimundo is excited by the talent at his disposal. Rob Williams

'Your job now': Pride coach puts A-League clubs on notice

PLAYER development may be the key tenet of new Western Pride coach Sergio Raimundo's managerial approach, but the experienced Portuguese will not be using that as an excuse to leave points on the pitch this season.

"We will always do our best. You can't develop a player by putting in his mind that he will lose or draw a game, we will always go out there to do our best, never to take one point home and be happy with that," the former Benfica Youth coach said.

Having lost key players from last season's starting 11 including former skipper Jesse Rigby, Andy Pengelly, Joe Duckworth, Adam Endean and Will McFarlane, Raimundo cautioned the club would not be "at the point where we won the league", but also not back at square one.

"The club at the start, things were not so easy or nice but with hard work and consistency (Pride saw results)," he said.

"We're not at the start, but also not at the point where we won the league - maybe somewhere in the middle. But we can do good things.

"The focus will be on developing the players, and getting them ready to be top, top players. And if not that, then ready to be good coaches or good leaders in the community, or good players for this club or other clubs, whichever they wish."

One player Raimundo has a particular interest in is newly-anointed skipper Cameron Crestani.

The career defender was moved into midfield for the pre-season contest with Eastern Suburbs on Wednesday night, and the Pride coach suggested it may become a permanent move for the former Brisbane Roar player.

"I've worked as a scout observing players and I know what teams ask for. If Cam sends his highlights, everyone in the world will say he's too small for centre back," Raimundo said. "For me - for the team - it would be better to keep him at the back, but for him personally it's better to move him into the midfield, because that's where he can have a future in the game at the highest level.

"Technically he's very good; defensively he's aggressive and very good. He's someone who really deserves to be in the A-League again. He's somebody that deserves it from a professional point of view, but also personally because he's a fantastic guy."

Crestani is not the only Pride player the new coach believes has a future in the A-League. He expects a number of players to announce themselves this season.

But he would not openly share who, joking it was no longer his job to do the scouting.

"We will have somebody very special that A-League clubs should keep an eye on, but now it's their job to scout, not mine," Raimundo said.

Callum Dick