Lia warns Reds must be defensively sound against Victory
Vince Lia insists Adelaide United will have to be tighter defensively in order to curtail a high-flying Melbourne Victory outfit.
The Original Rivalry returns to the Hyundai A-League for the first time in 2018/19 and with the anticipation building, Lia said his side will have to be on their game.
After losing their first two games of the season, Kevin Muscat’s side has responded emphatically with four straight wins.
Lia admitted Victory are in ominous form and are living up to billing of title favourites.
“Historically, they start pretty slow,” Lia explained to reporters.
“So for them to be in this form early shows they’re a very good team, and they’re going to be title contenders, the favourites probably.
“This is how we expected them to play, whether we expected it so early who knows, but with the players they’ve got they were always going to be up there.”
The holding midfielder, who has started five games this season, said they cannot place their sole attention on thwarting, Japanese talisman, Keisuke Honda.
“They’re so dangerous, they’re got so many players that can hurt you,” he said.
“So I think if you focus on (Keisuke) Honda alone you’ll get hurt by (James) Troisi or (Terry) Antonis, who’s having a good year, Kosta’s (Barbarouses) up front.
“It’s a very dangerous team and they’re red-hot at the moment, so not just my role but everyone’s role.
“We’ve to be switched on defensively and we’ve to win our duels and I think we’re good enough going the other way that we can hurt them.”
Despite the Reds winning their last two matches and scoring five goals, the 33-year-old believes they cannot afford to give Melbourne any easy opportunities like they have allowed recently.
He said restricting Victory’s attackers as a collective will be the best recipe for success.
“We’ve to be better defensively, more compact, and more solid,” he said.
“I think if we give them as many chances as we’ve given some other teams in the last few weeks we’ll get punished.
“So we’ve to be defensively strong and that’s key to winning.”
Adelaide United face Melbourne Victory in Round 7 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season on Saturday, 8 December at Marvel Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT. Live on Fox Sports, and 10 Boss and streamed on the My Football Live App.