Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau says his A-League outfit can’t improve any more this season.
Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau is either unbelievably honest or he’s having us on.
All season, Gombau maintains the A-League title isn’t his main aim. Now, he’s saying the Reds can’t get any better this season.
On the eve of Friday night’s crucial fixture against Sydney FC, Gombau was asked how much more can the Reds improve this season: “Nothing,” he replied.
“We stopped all the process of learning, new knowledge,” the Spaniard told reporters in Adelaide.
“We will keep with what we’re doing. And this will be until the end because these last games … (the aim) is to be competitive more than to learn more.”
But Gombau still believed the Reds were ready for a finals campaign – if they can beat Sydney FC at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium.
“If we want to be in the finals, we need to win these two games that we play at home and try and get something away,” he said.
Sixth-placed Adelaide are just one point shy of the fifth-placed Sky Blues on the ladder, with four games remaining before the finals.
Adelaide’s dynamic winger Fabio Ferreira has been declared fit to play, despite suffering concussion in last weekend’s scoreless draw with Western Sydney, and zippy Michael Zullo will return to the starting line-up after coming from the bench last week.
Sydney trump card Alessandro Del Piero, sidelined by a hamstring strain for last week’s 1-1 draw with pacesetters Brisbane, will travel to Adelaide with a decision on if he plays made on Friday.
Sydney coach Frank Farina believed his side were better prepared to meet Adelaide because of last week’s match against the similarly-styled Brisbane.
“It’s probably an advantage, having played arguably the best side in the comp and now coming up against a team who tries to play similar,” Farina told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
“They’re similar to Brisbane. They’re very mobile in the midfield and up front they’ve got pace with some genuine goal scorers, so it’s a similar threat.”
Sydney defender Sasa Ognenovski was also wary of an Adelaide attack which boasts three players in the league’s top 10 scorers for the season – Jeronimo, Sergio and Ferreira – and the sublime skills of Marcelo Carrusca.
“Containing their front four is the biggest challenge,” Ognenovski told reporters in Sydney.
“They’re mobility can drag you out of possession but we’ve just got to maintain our shape.
“That’s the main thing with Adelaide. Once you start getting pulled out of position, they’ll start to try and find the gaps.”