Nathan Buckley has no regrets about tying his coaching future to Collingwood making the AFL finals, despite the inevitable consequences.
The Magpies’ spluttering 1-4 start, coming off the back of no finals since 2013 and Buckley’s comments last August about his future, have ramped up the pressure.
Their high-profile Anzac Day loss to Essendon made Buckley the story of the week.
Buckley acknowledged it was a “good question” when asked on Friday if he regretted his comments last year in a radio interview.
“I’ve always had fairly high expectations … .my wife has very high expectations of me, my father has always had high expectations of me,”‘ Buckley said.
“I’m not saying we’re high-performing at the moment, but high performers everywhere always put a little bit more pressure on themselves than others do.”
But Buckley remains upbeat and says Collingwood are relishing the challenge of playing unbeaten Geelong off a five-day break.
The Magpies coach said after the Essendon loss that while they were not far off, they are also a mile off.
Their biggest loss is only 19 points, but they are floundering in attack.
“We’ve had a really good week – we’ve emphasised the things we’re doing okay, we’ve identified a couple of the areas and themes that we really want to continue to work on,” he said.
“We believe if we get that right, we’re going to be pretty hard to beat.
“We’re not looking at bridging a gap of two or three goals … we think we’re leaving eight, nine, 10 goals out on the park.
“We’re still aiming to play finals – we’re 1-4 and we play a top-of-the-table Cats team.
“That’s as far as we’re looking, that’s as far as we can afford to look.”
Buckley was asked how he is coping.
“I’m going OK – I tell you what I do have is great support, internally,”‘ he said.
“I’ve actually been asked that question a fair bit, this week in particular.
“That’s the great thing about footy clubs – I actually probably think about it more when people ask about it, than when I’m in my quiet moments.”
Magpies president Eddie McGuire strongly backed Buckley publicly in the aftermath of Anzac Day.
Buckley said that backing throughout the club is genuine.
“It’s definitely still outside the four walls,” Buckley said of the negative commentary surrounding his team.
“We’re tight-knit, we’re in it for the same reasons and we want to be successful.
“Eddie’s support is appreciated and the old ‘full support of the board’ – I get it, but I feel it as well.”
Meanwhile, Buckley said there is nothing wrong physically with captain Scott Pendlebury, who said Anzac Day was probably his worst game in 10 years.
“The speculation has only come from the fact that you’re not seeing the performance from a player (who) you expect a certain level of performance from,” Buckley said.
“So we ask the same questions.
“It does beg the question, but he feels up and about and looking forward to Sunday.”