By PADDY HIGGS
Chief editor - Australia
Sergio van Dijk has broken his silence on his departure from Adelaide United, and believes John Kosmina had lost the players in his final days as Reds coach.
Van Dijk's protracted move to Indonesia Super League club Persib Bandung finally went through on February 12, just hours after the Dutch-born forward had been sworn in as an Indonesian citizen.
The 30-year-old had left Adelaide United on January 17 on a free transfer, having fallen out of favour with Kosmina this season after informing club management he was considering a move to Indonesia for family reasons.
Despite his side sitting second on the A-League table for much of the first half of the season, Kosmina himself departed the club just 11 days later, citing a "lack of trust" from the Reds' hierarchy.
He had often left van Dijk out of his matchday squad altogether, with the former Brisbane Roar forward admitting Kosmina's treatment had left him disappointed.
"[The relationship] was not really that good… After [he told the club he was considering leave], the coach Kosmina didn't play me," said van Dijk, who made a scoring debut off the bench in Persib's 2-1 loss to Persisam Putra on Saturday.
"I can accept that the first a little bit, but after a couple of months and the reason that he gave me... I was a little demotivated.
"After that we only spoke a little bit, but in my mind I was already thinking about leaving Adelaide, because I didn't get any playing time and I think I deserved more time than what I got."
The A-League's third-greatest ever goalscorer, Van Dijk said he had had little issue with any at the club bar Kosmina, and revealed he was not the only one to fall out of the coach's favour.
"I didn't have a lot of problems, but I think John Kosmina have some problems," van Dijk said.
"The way he selected the squad… I don't understand the way he managed the team. A coach like Jose Mourinho is really good because he knows how to make all the players happy.
"I am not the only one - there was Jonny McKain, Zenon Caravella [now with the Newcastle Jets].
"If the coach has a good reason, no problem. But after a while, there was no good reason any more. He can say anything, but I don't care anymore. I wanted to leave and in the end I'm happy it happened."
When asked if Kosmina had lost his players before ending his second stint at the Reds, van Dijk said: "I think so. Not every player was happy, especially the people who were on the bench.
"I was not even in the bench, I was in the stand. Of course that can happen, but sometime the coach should tell the players why and have good reason.
"Like I said, it was not only me but other players too. And now that coach has gone and the players that were in the stands are now playing. It's a bit strange - I don't understand. Whose fault is that then?"
Despite the acrimonious end to his Reds stay, van Dijk said he had enjoyed his time in Australia and backed Adelaide to overcome their mid-season dramas to recover their form earlier in the campaign.
"I think the new coach [former assistant and interim boss Michael Valkanis] is good, it's a good choice made by the club," he said.
"… He has a lot of football knowledge. If they give him a little bit of time everything will work out. I think this season they should make the finals, and hopefully they can make the grand final and win the A-League."
- with Goal.com Indonesia