Scala reveals winning formula

Interested ... Would-be Australia coach Nevio Scala (Getty)

Italian coach Nevio Scala, who has put his hand up for the next Socceroos job, said football needs to return to its entertainment roots because that is what the fans want.

Scala, 62, who turned Parma from a battling second division side to a European force in the 1990s, said he was thrilled to be in the running for the national job which will become available after the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Current coach Pim Verbeek will relinquish his position when the Socceroos' involvement in the tournament comes to an end.

And with the 2011 Asian Cup in January on the horizon the FFA is keen to appoint a replacement as soon as possible.

"Football is a game designed to entertain the fans," Scala said from Italy where he works as a television pundit.

"A player who steps on a field with a joyous attitude and a will to enjoy himself and who has a great rapport with his teammates will eventually obtain great results.

"It is clear that enjoyment alone is not enough. One needs to work hard, think all the time and listen carefully to his coach's instructions.

"In my career as a coach I've always had good references because my teams have always played a type of game that pleases the fans.

"I believe in balanced football because to achieve success you need a balanced approach.

"All players on the field need to be good at attacking and defending.

"There are times when you need to attack with your defenders and on other occasions, especially when you are playing strong teams, you need to defend with your forwards.

"I have coached Parma, Borussia Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk and won things with them and in my experience I have learned to listen to the people who matter most: the players.

"I believe in dialogue with players because that is the best way to bring the best out of them.

"It's the psychology of dealing with general problems over and above tactics and style of play."

Scala, who played with distinction as a halfback for Roma, Fiorentina, AC Milan and Inter from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, said he could not resist the temptation of applying for the Socceroos job.

"My representatives Morris Pagniello from Genova International and Ante Alilovic from Entourage Football Services Australia told me of this great opportunity to coach such an important football team as Australia," he said.

"So I said to myself that this could be a great experience.

"Without thinking too much about it I said 'let's see what happens'.

"So if the FFA is interested I'm available to talk and get to know the people who run the game in Australia and we'll take it from there.

"In Italy we do not get much news on Australian football but through the internet and the last World Cup in Germany we grew to sympathise with the Socceroos.

"And of course we all remember how hard it was for us to beat the Australians in the round of 16."

So what would Scala bring to the table if he were to get the top job?

"It is difficult at this point in time to say what I would bring to the team if my application were successful," he said.

"First I would need to know the FFA's objectives and then set a program.

"At a playing level, I would need to know the players' characteristics so together we would be able to form a playing style that suits them and gives them the best opportunity to reach their goals.

"I have in my mind many playing patterns but I would only use the ones that are compatible with my players' style not the other way round."

Scala comes from a football school that has won dozens of international honours by using defence as the cornerstone of its game.

And there will be many who might sneer at the prospect of having an Italian coach at the helm of the Socceroos side that under Verbeek does not exactly go about its business in a gung-ho attacking style.

"To all those who think this way all I can say is 'before judging a team you must watch it play'," he said.

"The same applies to a coach. His responsibility is to play the game with intelligence and be fully conscious of his players' strengths.

"But above all he should tell his players not to fear the opposition ... and enjoy it as they go along."

Nevio Scala’s coaching trophies:

1992 Italian cup (with Parma).

1993 Cup Winners’ Cup, 1993 European Super Cup, 1995 UEFA Cup (all with Parma).

1997 Intercontinental Cup (with Borussia Dortmund).

2002 Ukrainian league, 2002 Ukrainian cup (with Shakhtar Donetsk).

Source: SBS