Mate Dugandzic says he and his Adelaide United teammates are full of excitement at the commencement of the new Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season, following a five month off-season.
The Reds’ last A-League fixture was the team’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Sydney FC in the Semi-Finals of last season on Saturday, 9 May, making it exactly five months since United’s last competitive domestic match when the squad meets reigning Champions, Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
But despite the long pre-season the players, coaches, and every Hyundai A-League fan has had to endure, Dugandzic is somewhat grateful for it, as it has given him a greater period of time to settle into life in Adelaide and also digest the Reds’ football style.
“Everyone is really excited for the season to start,” Dugandzic said.
“In the A-League, we’ve been ‘blessed’ with a long, long pre-season, so whenever the season gets (closer) the anticipation builds and we’re just eager to get started now on Friday night.
“It’s taken me a while (to settle into) the style of football that we play here at the club.
“I’m actually thankful for the long pre-season because I’ve gotten a few games under my belt and the more I played the more and more I got used to the style and the systems that Adelaide United has become famous for in the last couple of seasons.
“I’m getting much more relaxed with every game that I play and, you know, we have an easy group of guys to get along with and they’ve made me feel comfortable right away.”
Heading into the Round 1 fixture against, the Reds are yet to register a win in the last seven meetings between the two sides, yet the Reds are undefeated against Victory in their last seven A-League matches at home, winning four and drawing three.
Regardless of the statistics and history between the two sides, or any for that matter, Dugandzic believes it all counts for little when you consider how frequent players and coaches move in and out of football clubs, referencing the arrival of Guillermo Amor as Head Coach of United as an example.
“Right now it stands that we haven’t beaten Victory in seven games and we don’t like that at all,” he explained.
“They got a win against us in the FFA Cup, which we’re not happy about, so we’re looking to bounce back from that on Friday night.
“People look at the history (of matches between two clubs), but every single season is a new season.
“We’ve got a new Head Coach now in Guillermo and some players have moved on, others have come in and everyone has different mentalities so it counts for little.”
Having played for Melbourne and now Adelaide, Dugandzic also acknowledged how fierce the rivalry is between United and Victory, urging fans to flock to Adelaide Oval in massive numbers for what he hopes will be another massive occasion for South Australia.
Adelaide United will face Melbourne Victory in Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season at Adelaide Oval on Friday, 9 October 2015. Kick-off is at 7.10 pm. To buy tickets, click here.