Aberdeen midfielder Dante Polvara insists interim manager Neil Warnock has brought a fresh energy and positivity to the club.
And he revealed the veteran boss’ inspirational first message to the Dons has fired up their bid for Scottish Cup glory.
Warnock has been appointed interim manager until the end of the season as the Dons hierarchy search for a permanent manager for the 2024-25 campaign.
American midfielder Polvara said Warnock’s opening statement to the Dons squad was that he wanted to win the Scottish Cup.
The Dons face League Two Bonnyrigg Rose in the fifth round of the tournament at Pittodrie today.
Polvara said: “Everyone can see that he brings good, new energy and I think that is what we needed.
“He brings positive spirits into the camp.
“It is exciting for us to play for such a great manager.
“He is clear on what he wants and we are picking up as much as we can from him every day.
“He said straight away that he wants to win the cup.
“It is great to hear him being so confident when saying that.
“Considering where we are in the league to come out and say we can win the cup, it brings that confidence back into the group.”
‘The final was an incredible atmosphere and we want more’
Warnock was appointed interim manager on Monday and was in the dugout 24 hours later for the 2-1 loss to Rangers at Ibrox.
He will lead Aberdeen’s charge to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990.
The Dons have already featured in the Viaplay Cup final this season under former boss Barry Robson, losing 1-0 to Rangers at Hampden.
Polvara is determined to go one better under Warnock.
He said: “Once you get a taste of it you realise what it’s all about and the occasion.
“You realise how much it means.
“The final was an incredible atmosphere and we want more of that.
“To finish it the right way would ultimately be the dream.
“That’s what we are working towards and that starts on Saturday.
“We have already made it to a cup final this season so why not do it again – and finish it properly this time.
“If we put three wins together we are in to the final.
“Three wins and the season changes and we will be in two cup finals.
“It is a long way to go before that of course.
“That’s why Saturday is so important.”
Gloves still allowed in training
Warnock has banned mobile phones from the Aberdeen dressing room.
However Polvara revealed he eased his normal ban on players wearing gloves during training sessions – because it is so cold in Aberdeen.
Polvara explained: “He said he never lets his teams wear gloves during training, but it is a bit different up here.
“He brings a bit of old school mentality which is maybe what we need.
“I’m sure it will be different to what a lot of younger guys will know.
“But it is exciting as we can learn so much from him.”
‘He’s a funny guy but a serious guy too’
Warnock has a formidable record having managed in the English top flight with Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.
He has earned eight promotions in England, including four to the Premier League.
New York born Polvara was well aware of Warnock having watched action from the English top flight in the States.
He is relishing the opportunity to play, and learn, under the 75-year-old.
Polvara said: “I knew about him from way back, watching the Premier League in the States when I was younger.
“It’s exciting for us and a new challenge to learn from someone like that who has all that experience.
“And to play for him.
“We don’t have too many games left unfortunately over the next three and a half months but we will relish every single game we have.
“He is a funny guy but he is a serious guy too.
“He has an infectious energy to be around.
“His man management and tactically, there is all that behind the scenes that you don’t see.
“You don’t know what to expect when someone comes in but it has been great the first few days.
“We are learning a lot and taking a step in the right direction.”