Turnaround must come against Victory

Bruce Djite says the Reds’ playing group has put the pressure on changing the club’s fortunes around firmly on themselves.

Striker Bruce Djite says the Reds- playing group has put the heat and pressure on changing the club-s fortunes around firmly on themselves ahead of Saturday night-s showdown with Melbourne Victory.

Djite declared it is a case of now or never for the Reds to steer back on course a season that is slowly starting to slip away.

Last Friday night-s record home loss to the Central Coast Mariners has seen the blowtorch aimed directly at the Reds and Djite cut straight to the chase in stating the one and only outcome that is required against the Victory in order to deflect the scrutiny.

“I don-t think it-s a matter of how we-re going to turn it around, we have to turn it around…it-s not a matter of how, when, if - it-s a matter of we have to do it now,” Djite said regarding the fate of the Reds- season.

The 26th Hyundai A-League encounter between two of the league-s biggest rivals is set to be one of high desperation stakes, the Reds occupying ninth spot while the Victory sit just two places higher on the table, both teams chasing their third win of the season.

“There-s definitely a bit of pressure on us and certainly a lot of pressure on Melbourne Victory, they haven-t had the best run of results either, so it-s definitely going to be a massive clash this weekend and I-m sure the boys are looking forward to it.”

Djite refused to palm off the blame or make excuses for the Reds- current slide, stating it is something the players have to accept and take the onus on themselves to change the situation.

“We put our hands up, we-re not doing the job,” Djite said.

“We have to turn it around now and it-s more like compulsory than we have a bit of leeway, we don-t have any leeway anymore so there-s definitely a lot of pressure on this game and it-s something I hope all of the boys embrace because that-s what derbies are full of - pressure and must win games, and I think us and Melbourne Victory are pretty much in the same boat, we-ve really got to turn our seasons around.”

Furthermore, Djite dismissed any suggestions that the players are unsure about the instructions or game plan they are told to follow out when they run onto the field on match day.

“I think it comes down to a few factors, some probably within our control and some obviously out of our control, but the boys are working on that and we-re certainly focused on improving on that because we can-t keep going on like this,” Djite said.

“I think some of the speculation about players not knowing what to do and what-s going on is wrong. I think all of the boys are given a clear job when they go out there and we-re obviously not executing it as well as we should and we-re paying the price for it.”

A fan favourite and somewhat of a cult figure during his first stint at the Reds as a teenager, Djite empathises with the club-s supporters. He understands their displeasure and guarantees them that the players are taking it just as hard.

“We (the player) are probably hurting the most. I feel bad for the supporters, I understand that because I-m also a supporter of teams, and Adelaide is special with the passion and that-s a big reason I came back here because the fans are so passionate and I love being involved in a club like that,” Djite said.

“So I do feel for the supporters but I think people have also got to understand that players feel it more than anyone else. It-s us getting judged, it-s us losing the game and it-s our job to make the fans, the club and the whole state happy and we-re not doing that at the moment and that-s certainly something we-ve got to turn around.”

In a significant plus for the Reds leading up to the clash with Melbourne, striker Sergio van Dijk is a chance of returning from a calf injury. The lethal marksman trained fully with the main group this morning and Djite is quietly confident his fellow strike partner will be available to face the Victory.

“To get him (van Dijk) back would be a massive boost,” Djite said.

“He has missed a few games but if he can come back with some good sharpness then I-m sure that will definitely help the team.”

Van Dijk has not played since the Reds defeated Gold Coast United back on November 11.