Verbeek hails Reds' desire, admits improvements must be made defensively
Gertjan Verbeek was thrilled with the belief his players showed after squandering a two-goal lead before sealing a 4-3 win over Western United at Whitten Oval on Australia Day.
The Reds were 3-1 up inside 18 minutes courtesy of Nikola Mileusnić’s quick-fire brace and Riley McGree’s finish. Indeed, it was the fastest three goals scored by a team to begin a match in the competition's history.
Besart Berisha continued his dominance against Adelaide with a brace of his own before the break and Alessandro Diamanti capped off an impressive display to make it 3-3.
However, substitute Nathan Konstandopoulos decided the outcome with the winner on 79 minutes, via a sensational strike.
Verbeek praised his side’s desire to not give up and fight until the end of the game.
“We had chances I think we played perfect in the first-half, only we’re vulnerable when we lose the ball and Berisha was very strong,” Verbeek told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“With three minutes to go before half-time in front 3-1 and then 3-2, and they’re motivated at half-time.
“Even then we get two good chances in the beginning of the second-half, but it was good job by the goalkeeper.
“And then an easy goal we gave away at 3-3 and you see disappointment from my team and then they believe still for the three points.”
United have now won seven and lost seven matches and leapfrogged their opponents into fifth place on the Hyundai A-League table.
Verbeek felt their ladder position was a fair reflection of their season and believed if his side is to improve they need to be resolute defensively.
He stated that scoring four goals away from home should generally yield a relatively comfortable victory, although that was palpably not the case due to several errors.
“We’ve now played 14 games and I said already the whole season we can win from everybody but we can also lose against everybody,” he said.
“Even against Perth we lost 3-0 but we had our chances and we had 65% ball possession, so we’re good on the ball.
“Also today but also that 35% when you don’t have the ball you’ve to defend, and that’s (when we have been) vulnerable.
“We have to improve that and make less mistakes and then we can control the game better, because when you make four goals in an away game and it’s still exciting until the end that’s not a good a sign.
“So that’s what we have to work on, it’s a process and of course when you’ve a lot of the ball every mistake you make can be in transition and a chance for the opponent.”
Adelaide United host Melbourne City in Round 17 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Saturday, 1 February at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 5.30pm. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.