An overview of Gertjan Verbeek’s first Adelaide United press conference


Gertjan Verbeek was today officially presented to the media in his first press conference as Adelaide United’s new Head Coach for the next two seasons.

The Dutchman arrives with a wealth of experience, playing and coaching at the highest level in his homeland, while also managing in Germany.

Verbeek’s most notable stints include being at the helm of both SC Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie, winning the KNVB Cup with the latter in 2013.

Read what our new boss had to say below.

On first impressions of Adelaide…

Everybody is freezing cold they said but this is beautiful weather in Holland. So the impressions are good and the invitation has been very well from Adelaide and I’ve been taken around to see the training pitches and the stadium. And have also met the members of the staff that are already here, and it’s exciting to speak with the guys and see what the facilities are and I’m impressed.

On decision to come to Adelaide…

Five or six years ago I was in Australia with the former director of AZ Alkmaar and we made a trip to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney to see the sports science and how clubs became leaders in sports science. We saw a lot of Australian football, we saw cricket and we talked to the teams, the players and the trainers and we got a good impression. I was also impressed with the mentality and the way they eat sport, they live it, the sport mentality. And then I said when I get a chance to work here I’ll do it and five or six years later I get a call from Adelaide and they were interested so it was a good match.

On his first thing to undertake…

Yesterday I met the medical staff but today we made some appointments about how to work together and to train the group. To make them fit and to stay fit. It was a long session but a good session and tomorrow the players will come and they’ll get tested and Friday will be the first training session.

On approaching player fitness…

I don’t know about the past but if you see in my career all my teams were very fit and in Europe the last few years they get better now in fitness and in training in the gym. It was not usual in Europe and I started very early this fitness training in the gym and when you’re one of the first you look a bit strange and you get a lot of complaints. But I believed in it and every year I’ve shown them that it helps to be a better player and it keeps the players fit and not have a lot of injuries. So I’ll do my own thing on my own way with the experience from the staff here because it’s different here in Australia. I’ve never had a preseason for three months, normally it’s five or six weeks and then you’ve a Europa League game or the league will start. Now October is when the league starts here so for myself it’s a new experience to have the players getting in good shape to go into the league.

Gertjan Verbeek
Gertjan Verbeek speaks to the media at Coopers Stadium.

On style of football he hopes to implement…

I can only say that the trainer is only as good as his players and we’ll see what the quality of the players are. But the main type of football I like is to play offensive football and when you lose the ball get it back as soon as possible because it’s nice to have the ball. When you run after the ball as a defender it’s not nice, so keep the ball. That’s the basic ideas I can say. Maybe you’ve seen Ajax or Barcelona play this year. I don’t think we’ve the quality like Ajax or Barcelona but the way they play football… I’m a follower from the 1974 Netherlands squad coached by Rinus Michels and then Louis van Gaal.

So I’ve big names in front of me who are from the Dutch football school, if you want to call it like that, and hopefully I can bring some ideas into this team. And last year I saw the team has a lot of quality coming fourth and winning the cup and they got to the finals and were a little bit unlucky against Perth. So a lot of players are still here and that’s a big compliment for the Club that a lot of players want to stay, and we’ll need some new players to maybe fill in the gaps and maybe we can then go for the championship.

On the importance of playing attacking brand of football while challenging for trophies…

Not only that but also to take care of the youth and see if they can come closer to the first team squad. So developing players and make players better and see if they can become good players for the starting team.

On the process of finding a new captain…

Of course, I will also talk with Bruce and we’ll see how it fits in and analyse what is best for the team.

On areas to strengthen the squad…

I think everybody knows who follows Adelaide that we need some offensive players in the midfield. The captain has gone and also a central defender, and a right defender and also maybe a left defender. So we’ve five or six players to get.

On the quality he looks for in signing players…

When you talk about players in the middle of the field, the nine, the 10 or the three or the four you want to have creative players and you want to play offensive football. You want players with a lot of creativity and technical skills.

On the awareness of the Hyundai A-League abroad…

When the message came that I became coach of Adelaide there were a lot of former players that called me who are still living here. Kew Jaliens, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Rob Wielaert, and Victor Sikora. Some of them I’ve trained and they said trainer when you stay here for two years you won’t want to go. Also a lot of agents in Europe have called me and said what players do you need. There are a lot of players playing in Europe that want to play here in Australia.