Adelaide United have the chance to clinch early season silverware when they host Melbourne City in the FFA Cup Final 2019 at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night.
It is the second meeting in four days between the two sides after the Reds went down 2-1 in the Hyundai A-League on Sunday.
However, this time there is a whole lot more on the line as the holders will look to become the first side to not only clinch the trophy back-to-back but also for a record third time.
Gertjan Verbeek believes their improved performance against Erick Mombaerts’ team after conceding two quickfire goals has given them added belief they can compete.
“I said also at half-time and after the game, Melbourne City were better in the first-half but we were only half as good as we could be," he told reporters in the pre-match press conference.
“And that we have to improve… I think when we make less mistakes when we have the ball we we’ll be more dangerous and the opponent will be more respectful against us and you saw that in the second-half.
“Every second ball they didn’t get a lot of chances anymore and there was only one team playing football and I think we did a good job in the second-half.
“And we were unlucky not to reward ourselves with a second goals but it shows the players have a chance.”
The Dutchman won the KNVB Beker in his homeland with AZ Alkmaar in 2013 after defeating giants PSV Eindhoven 2-1.
He said winning another trophy so early in his tenure with the Reds would be special.
“It’s a prize and you play football to win prizes,” he stated, as the Reds prepare to play in their third straight decider.
“I won the cup once in Holland and you get extra reward because you can play European football.
“That’s not here but it’s still a prize and the more prizes you win the more you like it, and when you’re so close you have to do what’s in you to lift the cup at the end of the game.”
Reds Captain, Michael Jakobsen, warned his side must be wary of in-form striker, Jamie Maclaren and limit his involvement after bagging a double on Sunday.
“We need to close him down, but it’s not only him,” Jakobsen said of the Socceroos talisman, who has scored a total of 12 goals with both City and the national team this 2019/20 campaign.
“They’ve a lot of good players so collectively we need to defend better. We have struggled a bit on set pieces the last two games so we need to tighten up there first of all.
“One of the goals he got on Sunday was a bit too easy, but it’s a player to watch.
“He’s in good form at the moment so we need to take care of him.”
The Danish defender, who moved to the Reds last season from City, also won the tournament with the Victorian outfit in 2016.
He added that securing the FFA Cup would realise a team objective set out at the beginning of pre-season.
“It’s a cup game, it’s a final, it’s a one-off,” he insisted.
“So we need to go in and give everything.
“It’s a new opportunity and everyone has to come in with a clear mindset.
“… It would be amazing to do it again, it would be the third time so that’s been the aim since the start of the pre-season.”
FFA Cup Record:
|Adelaide United||Melbourne City|
|2014||Champions||Round of 32|
|2016||Round of 32||Champions|