Adelaide United Reserves Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, warned his side would need to improve defensively if they are to progress to the Grand Final.
The Young Reds take on Adelaide Comets Reserves at Adelaide City Park in the Preliminary Final on Saturday.
United suffered an 8-7 aggregate loss to MetroStars after losing 5-3 in the second leg last week.
Adelaide found themselves in a 3-0 whole but did claw their way back to make it 3-2, courtesy of goals from Daniel Bressan and Ninko Beric after half-time. However, Metro added two more goals of their own before Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio struck but it ultimately proved inconsequential.
Stenta attributed his team’s inconsistency to their shortcomings against Metro.
“The performance was probably a little more inconsistent than what we were after,” Stenta said.
“So there was some good patches of play and certainly from an attacking sense we were able to score seven goals over two legs which should be enough to see you through.
“But we were a little bit exposed defensively and especially in the second game conceded quite a few goals and unfortunately that meant we weren’t able to progress.”
Stenta felt the reason Adelaide had been leaking a lot of goals of late was mainly down to individual mistakes.
However, the Reserves boss admitted he was slightly concerned by his side’s defensive lapses in concentration, but was confident those issues would be resolved.
“Some errors, some costly mistakes and perhaps sometimes more mental than anything,” he said.
“Maybe switching off and just getting caught out a little bit.
“It is a slight concern but it’s something I think we can rectify.”
Stenta anticipated another tough meeting with the Comets based on their regular season encounters.
“We’ve had some good games against them this year and they’ve had some very positive results as well in the finals series,” he said.
“So we’re expecting a really tough hit-out against them and we’ll go in with plenty of confidence and a strong game plan of what we think can get us the result.
“But we know it’s going to be a very difficult challenge and we’re going to have to be at our best if we’re going to progress.”
Stenta said he hoped to see a better structure from his team across the park to limit the space between the lines.
“The first thing we’d like to see is just probably a better defensive effort,” he said.
“Not just talking about the defenders in the team, I’m talking about the way we defend as a unit all over the park.
“And probably just a bit more consistency from our mental approach to the game as well.
“Just making sure we’re switched on and engaged and up for the challenge right from the very first whistle.”
Adelaide United Reserves host Adelaide Comets Reserves in the Preliminary Final of the National Premier League Reserves 2018 Finals Series on Saturday, 25 August at Adelaide City Park. Kick-off is at 2.30 PM.