Reds must improve in adapting to momentum shifts says Verbeek
Gertjan Verbeek admits there were parts of Adelaide United’s game he was pleased with but lamented his side’s inability to adjust as the momentum was changing.
The Reds were far from convincing against Olympic FC but did secure a 3-2 win to advance to the quarter finals of the FFA Cup for a fifth time on Wednesday night.
Verbeek said his side started the game relatively well though slowly began to lose control of the game as the hosts dominated in the second stanza.
Al Hassan Toure scored a brace which was twice cancelled out before George Blackwood converted a penalty on 84 minutes.
“I think for one hour I saw what we trained,” he explained to reporters at Adelaide Airport.
“And until that time the game was better than the game against Melbourne Knights.
“After that they changed their strategy and we didn’t recognise this.
“That’s the reason why he had problems in defence. They scored a goal and then we had to and they also tried to win in normal time and there was a lot of space in midfield.
“That was lucky for us and we used that very well with Riley (McGree) and Nikola (Mileusnić) and we scored a goal.
“I think the result is okay but the last half hour can be better.”
Verbeek believed his side must improve their in-game awareness to adapt to changing circumstances.
“To recognise when the situation is changing you also have to change some things,” he said.
“And we had a tactic because we know they’re a good team that was playing combination football and we wanted to avoid that which became their strength.
“Their number five (Steve Whyte) is very important for that team and I think the first hour we did it perfect but then he went from the right wing to the middle of the field and played as a six.
“And then they played with almost four attackers. That was a big call for us and we didn’t recognise that and read the game wrong.
“Lucky for us in the last 15 minutes we were in better physical condition.”
With Toure scoring a double to build on from his goal on debut against Melbourne Knights, Verbeek admitted he has been surprised by the 19-year-old’s remarkable impact as well as fellow youngster Kusini Yengi.
“He’s surprised me,” he said of Toure, who only penned a scholarship deal on Tuesday.
“… I saw him playing when I first came here because the Youth Team was playing.
“And he made a fantastic goal in one of those games and then I let him train with the first team. Kusini (Yengi) as well.
“They’re very talented and they have potential that’s going so fast I didn’t expect – nobody I think.”
The Dutchman outlined Toure’s traits that convinced him he was ready to make the step up and join the senior squad.
“Physically strong, fast, good dribbler, good technical skills and he wants to go to the goal,” he said.
“So he wants to go forward. He’s not afraid and also mentality really strong person.”