City pre-season test a better measuring stick for Reds says Verbeek


Adelaide United still have plenty of room for improvement, according to Head Coach Gertjan Verbeek following a narrow pre-season friendly defeat.  

The Reds went down 1-0 to Melbourne City in the behind-closed-doors match after conceding a goal in the 15th minute from a mistake.

Verbeek said playing against Hyundai A-League opposition for the first time this pre-season provided a more accurate indication of where his side is at.

“Well the first game that we played against an A-League team and you can really see what we have to work on,” Verbeek said following the game.

The Dutch tactician added that the implementation of their pressing game remained a work in progress, suggesting it was disjointed at times and not in unison.

 “… What we need is that when we’ve the ball, we’ve the same idea,” he explained.

“And that we look to each other and cooperate and also in defence – what do we want.

“High press, middle press, or fall back and everybody has to do his job.

“Some are pressing a lot and some are running backwards and that’s not good enough at the moment, so the communication can be better in what we want to do and it has to be better.”

Al Hassan Toure pre-season
Al Hassan Toure in action for the Reds against City. Photo by Chris Kelly Photographics

Verbeek said he has been impressed with youngsters Al Hassan Toure and Pacifique Niyongabire this pre-season and stated the pair performed well against City.

The ex-AZ Alkmaar boss handed Toure his professional debut against Melbourne Knights in the FFA Cup Round of 32, which saw him open the scoring. He also introduced Niyongabire as a second-half substitute for his first senior appearance since January 2018.

“They’re doing well, they’re doing a good job,” he said.

“(Al Hassan) Toure was one of the better players in the first-half and also Pacifique (Niyongabire) made a good impression in the second-half.”

Adelaide United face Olympic FC in the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup 2019 on Wednesday, 21 August at Perry Park. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACST. Live and Exclusive on Foxsports.com.au.