Jakobsen says Reds determined to finish fourth
Michael Jakobsen insists Adelaide United have not given up hope of securing a home final ahead of their crucial clash with Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds remain three points adrift of fourth-ranked Wellington in fifth spot and know a victory will keep alive their aspirations of playing the opening round of the Finals Series on home soil.
Jakobsen acknowledged the magnitude of Sunday afternoon’s game, admitting that it and the three other regular season matches will all be treated like finals.
“This is a final for sure, I think we’re looking at the last four games as finals,” the Danish defender told reporters.
“The quality of opponents we’re up against: it’s Wellington (Phoenix), (Melbourne) City and (Melbourne) Victory and they’re all around us.
“Leading into the finals it would be a good boost to get up and get some wins.
“If we want to go for fourth spot we need to win, if we lose it’s nearly not possible, so we need to win and probably two more games.
“It’s going to be tough but we’re going to give it our all to reach the fourth spot.”
Wellington are renowned for their ability to break in transition and it is an area the centre-back warned Adelaide must be prepared for.
He said limiting the space for their quick players like David Williams and Roy Krishna will be essential.
“We’re aware that they’ve some speed up top,” he stated.
“… I think they’re very compact and very good on the counter. They know what they’re good at and they do that to perfection.
“So I wouldn’t expect anything else than what you see and what they do game in and game out.
“It’s very consistent what they do and they’re very good at it.
“So we need to lock that down and don’t give away easy opportunities for them to get into those good positions and go on the counter.”
The Phoenix have also been in rampant form of late, collecting nine points and scoring 15 goals in their preceding three games.
While the Reds are yet to suffer a loss against Mark Rudan’s side this campaign, Jakobsen is cognisant they will have to be even better to get a positive result.
“They’ve stepped up their game a fair bit especially recently,” he said.
“The last couple of rounds they’ve looked very sharp and we need to do better than what we’ve done previously against them otherwise we’ll get in trouble.
“So we need to be spot on from the first minute until the end.”
Adelaide United host Wellington Phoenix in Round 24 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season on Sunday, 7 April at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 4.30pm ACDT. Gates open 3.30pm.