Coolen can find upside despite finals exit
Adelaide United FC Head Coach Rini Coolen concedes the Reds were made to pay for their mistakes in their season ending 3-2 loss to Gold Coast United, but at the same time can find a number of positives to come from the club’s 2010/11 campaign.
Adelaide United FC Head Coach Rini Coolen concedes the Reds were made to pay for their mistakes in their season ending 3-2 loss to Gold Coast United, but at the same time can find a number of positives to come from the club-s 2010/11 campaign.
The Reds showed character to come back from 1-nil down at half time to take the lead with 20 minutes remaining, but the Gold Coast had the last laugh in the titanic arm wrestle as they found a quick fire response, scoring a further two goals to move through to the Preliminary Final and close the curtain on Adelaide-s title hopes.
Without pitting the blame on any one individual, Coolen admitted all three of Gold Coast-s goals came from collective defensive mistakes. In a see-sawing battle, the Dutchman identified Gold Coast striker Bruce Djite-s goal, which levelled the scores back at 2-2 a minute after Mathew Leckie had given the Reds the lead, as a time in the game that went a long way to determining the result.
“I think after we scored the second one to make it 2-1 it was a good moment in the game with 20 minutes left,” Coolen said.
“Normally then you should have control of the game, don-t give anything away anymore, use your home crowd because they were fantastic again, and come out and score the third goal, that-s what you-d prefer, but we conceded a goal in the same minute and I think that-s the moment we lost the game.”
“They scored three goals in an way game so maybe they deserved the win, but I think we were the better team, we were not playing fantastic and we also made a couple of mistakes so that-s the way it is, everything should be better than yesterday if you win games like that because it was a really important game, but it wasn-t enough yesterday.”
“We have to learn from these things, but you win and lose together so that-s it, we can-t change it anymore.”
While the Reds squad came together for a brief recovery session this morning still dealing with the disappointment of being bundled out of championship contention, Coolen can find positives to draw on from the season, particularly as the club emerged from being on the bottom of the Hyundai A-League pile in 2009/10 to reaching the second weekend of the finals a year later.
“If you look back at the whole season I think we did well. I think we were one of the teams playing the best football…we created a lot of chances, we scored a lot of goals, so if you see our whole season we can look back on a fantastic season,” Coolen said.
“But you-re always disappointed if you are out like yesterday, that-s for sure because you want to have more.”
Despite the advances the Reds made this season to finish fourth overall and prove a number of pundits- early season predications wrong, Coolen says getting so close to the summit but not quite making it to the top was hard to swallow.
“If you asked me that (about finishing fourth) at the start of the season then yes that maybe would be fantastic if you start as a new coach with new players and the year before the club finished at the bottom of the table,” Coolen said.
“But if you see our whole season and that we were just two games away from playing Asian Champions League next year, then yeah it-s still a big loss, so we are not happy with it.”
With the off season now upon the Reds, Coolen says the club would invest time focusing on making continual improvement next season and trying to take that next step towards a Hyundai A-League championship and qualification into the lucrative AFC Champions League.
“We made big steps (this season) but we definitely have to make a couple more big steps, go through a couple of processes with the team, with the club, because we have to move on and there are a lot of things to do still,” Coolen said.
“We were happy with the season but not with the end result. In the future we want to build the club up to a higher level and be in the top two positions to have a chance to play in the Asian Champions League, that-s what we prefer. We can-t change everything in a couple of weeks but that-s our challenge for the future.”