Bleiberg upbeat despite A-League sanctions

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    A suspended one-match ban, a $5000 fine and dead last on the A-League ladder – all signs point to a tough week for Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg.

    But the outspoken mentor reckons billionaire owner Clive Palmer’s very public support has helped him get his mojo back ahead of Friday night’s crunch clash with Melbourne Heart at Skilled Park.

    Trouble is, Football Federation Australia (FFA) may also take note of Palmer’s very public support.

    Palmer passionately backed Bleiberg after the United coach was slapped with the suspended ban and fine for post-match comments made on November 6.

    But Palmer may also hear from the FFA for threatening to take legal action if his appeal against the severity of the fine is dismissed.

    While Bleiberg did not want to talk about the pending appeal, he appreciated Palmer’s vote of confidence.

    “It’s very flattering to have your employer backing you that much,” Bleiberg said on Thursday.

    “If everybody was like Clive we wouldn’t need unions in this country – but the club is handling it (appeal) and that’s it.”

    The FFA sanctions on Bleiberg came barely 24 hours after his 100th A-League game was soured by a 2-1 loss in Adelaide – a third defeat in four games that relegated Gold Coast to bottom of the table.

    But Bleiberg sounded like he was back to his best for the Heart clash.

    “Even my wife sent me a text asking ‘are you alright’, so everyone thinks I am having a tough week,” Bleiberg said.

    “But even if you lose 10 games, if you know your employer is behind you it doesn’t worry you – so for me that (Palmer’s comments) makes it an easier week.”

    Third-last Heart are expected to arrive on the tourist strip full of confidence after finally notching their first win last round – a 3-0 thumping of Newcastle.

    But Bleiberg said: “I usually like to play teams who have won the last game.

    “I think a wounded animal is more dangerous than a fed animal – that’s the rule of the jungle.

    “Hopefully the Heart are drunk with happiness.”

    United will be without Olyroos call-ups James Brown and Dylan McGowan while Ben Halloran (leg) is a “50-50” prospect.

    But Bleiberg backed Dutch import Maceo Rigters to fire after overcoming an ankle complaint.

    “This week will be the right time to judge him,” Bleiberg said of Rigters.

    “If you ask me who is a better striker between Mace and James Brown I would put my money on Mace, so we are not disadvantaged.”

    © AAP 2017