Ryan Kitto hailed Adelaide United's determination in their 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium, before switching the attention to Saturday’s home game with Brisbane Roar.
After some incisive build-up play on the right flank involving Nikola Mileusnic and Ryan Strain, Kitto got in between two defenders to poke home the latter’s first-time cross.
That 14th minute strike proved to be the difference on the evening and propel United into the top four.
Kitto said the lead up to the goal in the Boxing Day bout was a move straight off the training track.
“We do attacking movements and it’s a play that we work on,” he said.
“And Strainy and Nikola (Mileusnic) executed perfectly and I was just lucky to be on the end of a fantastic cross by Ryan Strain so it was good.”
Kitto admitted the Reds were trying to double their advantage after the interval and give themselves some breathing space.
And while a second goal did not eventuate, United had to remain extra focused to protect their slim lead.
“Central Coast are a good side and they pretty much had all the possession in the second-half,” he said.
“We definitely wanted to go out and get a second and maybe the third to put it to bed, but we weren’t able to do that.
“But credit to all the boys who dug really deep, and it was a hard, gutsy performance in difficult conditions.
“But we are just happy we grinded out that win.”
Kitto’s finish was his fifth of the season and is currently the team’s leading scorer in the Hyundai A-League.
But the South Australian local said he is always seeking to get better.
“I’m hungry to always improve, there’s always areas to improve,” he said.
“But I’m just enjoying my football at the moment and the team’s doing well so it’s a good a place and we are all happy.”
Kitto also praised the performance of goalkeeper, Paul Izzo, who enjoyed another inspiring outing with five key saves against his former club.
“He’s been brilliant and it gives you great confidence when your defence and goalkeeper are in fantastic form,” he claimed.
“You can really attack with confidence and throw numbers forward and know that you have that stability behind you so it’s really good.”
Adelaide now has a quick turnaround ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Brisbane Roar.
Kitto insisted his side will be prepared and expected a tough match against a Roar outfit situated in ninth spot.
“We have worked hard all pre-season so physically we know that we can do it,” he continued.
“Obviously our focus will be recovery with the short turnaround, but we are confident that we’ll be good come Saturday afternoon.
“They’re a very good team with very experienced players.
“So they will hit form at some stage and they’re a good team, so we are going to have to bring everything come Saturday afternoon to make sure that we get the result that we want.”
Adelaide United host Brisbane Roar in Round 13 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Saturday, 30 December at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 5.05pm ACDT. Kids go free with the purchase of an adult ticket using the password SUMMER17 when selecting tickets online at Ticketek.