When Steve Corica sat his Sydney FC players down on Wednesday morning and announced he was their new head coach, Brandon O’Neill knew exactly what to expect.
The midfielder had already played three years under Corica in the club legend’s incarnation as assistant coach — some of his teammates far longer.
He knew, for instance, that the quietly spoken 45-year-old wouldn’t be emulating the booming guttural training-park directives of his predecessor Graham Arnold.
“Obviously their personalities are a bit different,” O’Neill told AAP.
“Bimbi’s a very good man manager, a lot like Arnie was, in the way he portrays things in terms of his football knowledge and the way he delivers things to us.
“I don’t think anyone is, in that regard, what Arnie used to be — shouting and kind of screaming to make sure he gets his point across.
“But Bimbi is very precise in what he says, he’s very knowledgeable and switched on in what he delivers, and everyone gets the message loud and clear, which is great.
“The boys had a mixture of both … and we got the best of both worlds.
“Now we’re fully aware of what Bimbi is going to say and how he’s going to deliver it, and we’re already used to it.
“You wouldn’t want to mess with Arnie and you sure wouldn’t want to mess with Bimbi either.”
O’Neill credited Arnold as the best coach he’d ever had due to the Socceroos coach-in-waiting’s capacity to get the best out of players.
A tenure boasting a championship, another Grand Final and two Premiers’ Plates was always going to be a tough act to follow.
But O’Neill said Corica’s ability in that area was also second to none and felt the former Socceroos and Sky Blues midfielder would have no problem in such a high-pressure role because he knew what it took to win.
“It’s a great appointment for the club moving forward,” O’Neill said.
“Bimbi is a top guy and a very, very good person … he has the respect of all the players and coaching staff.
“He’s seen what we’ve been able to achieve … the culture down there — he was a big part of it.
“He knows what’s expected of us and I’m extremely excited to be able to work under him.”