Adelaide United FC interim coach Michael Valkanis sees tomorrow night’s home clash against Melbourne Victory as the ideal way for the Reds to begin their resurgence in the run in towards the finals.
Adelaide United FC interim coach Michael Valkanis sees tomorrow night-s home clash against Melbourne Victory as the ideal way for the Reds to begin their resurgence in the run in towards the finals.
Starting Round 20 four points behind the second placed Victory on the ladder following three straight defeats, Valkanis knows the Reds need a much sought after win against their fierce rivals to bring themselves back into the fold of the top two and recharge the confidence levels.
In contrast, the Victory is enjoying a fine run of results that has seen them lose just two of their past 15 games.
But recent results leading into matches between these two teams often do not follow the script and while Valkanis is wary of an in form Victory, he is buoyant about his side-s chances of causing an upset.
“Melbourne Victory are a good side - they-re well drilled,” Valkanis said.
“From pre season they-ve been working on a certain way to play and now they-re going into the business end fine tuned…you can see that with the football they-re playing, so we-ve got to find ways to nullify some of their patterns of play.”
“But for our group, there-s no better game to turn things around. I think it-s a great opportunity for the guys…they-ve been through a downer and they were bitterly disappointed last week with the result (against Western Sydney), but you can-t be more motivated than to play Melbourne Victory.”
“It-s a big game and it-s a great stage to turn things around and I think the boys are really looking forward to it, there-s no doubt about it.”
“It has been a short week as well which is a good thing because you can sort things out quickly when a game comes around quickly, so they-ve got an opportunity to do that and sort of begin their preparations towards finals tomorrow.”
As well as the Victory are travelling, one of their two aforementioned defeats came at the hands of the Reds back in Round 10 and Valkanis will take heart from what unfolded on that night as he attempts to bring about a higher expectation and benchmark across the board.
“We-ve looked closely at what we did in Round 10 because I think that was probably one of our best performances this year…and they-re the sort of heights we have to try and reach consistently, not once in Round 10 and hopefully in Round 20,” Valkanis said.
“If we-re going to play finals and do well in finals we-ve got to be able to do that consistently, so we-ve looked at what we have to do to beat them, but I think it-s one of those games where the mental side is probably more important and it-s how much the boys really want to win this game.”
One area Valkanis identified as an issue that needs addressing is the Reds- stinginess in defence. Even with Eugene Galekovic in goals, United has conceded 11 goals in the last four games and Valkanis knows the leaking must stop if the Reds are to get back to their early season standing which had them top after eight rounds.
“It has been about six games that we haven-t played too well and we certainly have to fix one problem and that is conceding goals,” Valkanis said.
“We-ve got to get a bit of confidence back in our defence as a whole in terms of how they set up and what structure we put in place to defend as a team.”
“It has been a short week and there-s a lot of stuff we need to work on but that-s one thing we-ve really focused on and we-ve got to get that right.”
For the match, Valkanis will welcome back Jeronimo Neumann from suspension in place of the injured Bruce Djite, while Osama Malik is set to be recalled for his first start since Boxing Day. There will also be a forced reshuffle in the Reds- back four with Nigel Boogaard out through suspension.
Valkanis said he was looking forward to seeing Malik back on the field and is optimistic about him getting back to the form that saw him in Qantas Socceroos calculations.
“He (Malik) was integral in us getting those results early on in the season. He was probably one of our best players, hence why he made the Socceroos at the time,” Valkanis said.
Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season - Week 20 ADELAIDE UNITED FC v MELBOURNE VICTORY Friday 8 February 2013, Hindmarsh Stadium Kick-Off: 7.00pm ACDT Referee: Jarred Gillett
Tickets: Available through Ticketek (call 132849, online at www.ticketek.com.au) TV: LIVE & Exclusive on Fox Sports 1 Radio: Score updates on 891 ABC Adelaide Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #REDSvMV)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 4.Jon McKain, 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay, 19.Jake Barker-Daish, 21.Jeronimo Neumann, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 24.Awer Mabil, 30.John Hall (gk) *One to be omitted
Ins: Osama Malik (promoted), Jeronimo Neumann (returns from suspension), Awer Mabil (promoted from NYL) Outs: Nigel Boogaard (suspended - 1 match), Bruce Djite (groin - 2 weeks) Unavailable: Fabio Ferreira (groin - 4-5 weeks)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Tando Velaphi (gk), 2.Matthew Foschini, 3.Adama Traore, 6.Leigh Broxham, 8.Jonathan Bru, 9.Marcos Flores, 10.Archie Thompson, 11.Marco Rojas, 13.Diogo Ferreira, 14.Billy Celeski, 17.Jimmy Jeggo, 18.Francesco Stella, 22.Jesse Makarounas, 23.Adrian Leijer (c), 26.Andrew Nabbout, 31.Scott Galloway, 32.Connor Pain, 39.Nathan Coe (gk) *Three to be omitted
Ins: Matthew Foschini, Jesse Makarounas, Andrew Nabbout (all promoted), Diogo Ferreira (returns from suspension), Jimmy Jeggo Outs: Nick Ansell (injured), Mark Milligan (international duty) Unavailable: Gui Finkler (knee)
Adelaide United vs. Melbourne Victory - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record Played 29 - 9 wins, 5 draws, 15 losses
At Hindmarsh Stadium Played 11; Adelaide United 5, Melbourne Victory 4, Draws 2
Last time they met 7-Dec-2012 Week 10, Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season at Hindmarsh Stadium Adelaide United FC 4 (Kostopoulos 3-/32-, Ferreira 22-, Carrusca 25-) Melbourne Victory 2 (Nabbout 6-, Rojas 47-)