Paul Izzo stressed the importance of claiming three points against the Newcastle Jets on Friday night with the race for the top six heating up.
Adelaide United, equal fifth on the Hyundai A-League ladder, host the Jets at Coopers Stadium and are currently just two points clear of the seventh-placed Brisbane Roar.
The South Australians drew 1-1 against Melbourne City in Round 23, but while the result snapped a two-game losing streak it has extended their winless run to four games.
With four games remaining and the pressure intensifying, Izzo said the Reds must rise to the occasion and embrace the challenge that awaits them.
“It’s obviously coming down to a pretty tough time of the year and unfortunately some results haven’t gone our way,” Izzo admitted.
“And other teams have caught up so pressure is piling on, but at the same time I guess pressure does put more on the players to perform.
“We have to go out there this weekend and try and get three points, we can’t really settle for one.”
Izzo lamented the stalemate with City last Friday and insisted the focus will be on trying to take maximum points from their remaining two home fixtures.
“Obviously we are disappointed we couldn’t get the three points especially playing at home,” he said.
“We have two more home games in a row now and want to make full use of them and get six points from both of these games.
“And give back to the fans for the great support they’ve shown this year.”
But despite not tasting a victory since the beginning of February, the goalkeeper revealed morale within the squad was high with every player back training.
“It’s also good for morale having a full squad,” he said.
“You see the more people out on the training pitch, the stronger as a team you feel.
“So the more people that are training and coming back from injury it helps the boys a lot more and gives the boys a lot of confidence.”
For Friday night’s clash, the Jets will be without Dimitri Petratos, Nigel Boogaard and Roy O’Donovan through international duty, injury and suspension respectively.
However, Izzo dismissed suggestions Newcastle will be easier to beat as a result of their absentees.
“They’ve got a very strong squad I mean their foreign boys are back (Ronald Vargas and Patricio Rodriguez),” he said.
“We all know how dangerous they are so they’ve lost some players but at the same time they’ve replaced them with some really good ones.
“So I wouldn’t say they’re understrength because they’ve just gone away to Wellington and they got a result there and that’s no easy task to do.”
Adelaide United host Newcastle Jets in Round 24 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Friday, 23 March at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.