After last season’s stunning run and off-season troubles, Adelaide United were supposed to be a weaker team this time around. But smart transfers have the Reds looking stronger than ever
After last season-s stunning run and off-season troubles, Adelaide United were supposed to be a weaker team this time around. But smart transfers have the Reds looking stronger than ever
The New Boys
AFW: It-s still early, but Adelaide still look like a good team this season. Have they been flying under the radar? IF: We-re feeling pretty strong. We-ve had an interrupted pre-season with five or six players out with swine flu and everything else. It was difficult but it has driven the fit players even more to pull through while the players are recovering. In terms of flying under the radar, I actually spoke to Viddy about that and he said it happens every year with Adelaide. Everyone writes them off and says they-ll come fourth, fifth or sixth - but every year they turn around and do really well. Coming off the back of last year, which was a great season, and in the Champions League - it-ll be hard to do that again but we certainly are driven to achieve as much as possible this year and keep the bar pretty high and maybe go that one step further and win a championship.
You just want to watch out for those Wimbledon long balls… Yeah, nothing wrong with long balls…[Laughs]. I think that-s been blown out of proportion. We do play some pretty good stuff and but there have been certain comments from some coaches, but we take it with a pinch of salt.
It seems like a backhanded compliment at Viddy-s capacity to switch things around when he had to. He knows how to get results. There-s a lot of emphasis on playing attractive, beautiful football but from a players point of view, the most important thing is to get a result. There-ll be times in games when you-re playing great football but you can-t do that all the time. There has to be strategy to go with it. Viddy-s great like that. He-s one of that generation of coaches who-s been to Europe as a player and seen how it all happens over there, and brought that back and applied to our game here.
Are you enjoying being back in Adelaide Obviously I can fit back in pretty easily, as I-ve got family here and a lot of good mates; nothing-s really changed. I had four or five great years in Sydney. I loved my time there and it-s a brilliant city and loved the club, but it-s great to get back to Adelaide and start a new chapter in my career.
There-s also a little Sydney-for-United this season with yourself and Mark Rudan. Yeah, big Rudes - that was a good signing for us, we were definitely a bit thin at the back. We-ve got myself and Corny [Robert Cornthwaite] but we-ve got a few young lads going away with the under-20s, so we probably needed someone who-s been around the traps a little bit.
People did question the experience at Adelaide after Ognenovski-s departure. When I first got here I felt like I was replacing Paolo Maldini or someone, the way everyone was going on. Sasa, Constanzo and Valkanis were great players for Adelaide. There was a small challenge to emulate what they had done and take it to the next level, but I-m really confident in my own ability and confident in the blokes around me. Results will prove over time whether we-ve got it right or not but I-m pretty confident everything will go smoothly.
How are you settling in at Adelaide?
I-m really enjoying Adelaide, I love being here. My agent is a friend with Paul Agostino, so they arranged a trial; now I-m here. It-s been pretty good - but body-wise, not so good. It-ll take a few weeks to get fit because I-m not used to training once a day. Hopefully it won-t take too long; less than a month.
Did you know much about Adelaide United and the A-League before you arrived? I saw the Champion-s League and saw some highlights on the internet - -cause I like watching all the small video clips of world football. The league-s reputation is big now, it-s known worldwide. I-ve been to Europe as well and the A-League-s a lot like that. I lived in England for about five years. I love England - and it-s very similar to here.
They must be working you pretty hard to get you up to match fitness? I-m working myself harder! I have to impress as I did in the trial and show them what I can do. My training hasn-t been great before now. But I really like running. I know I can do better and I know what I-m here for. I-m not here to sit back and watch others; I want to play and do my best.
The Coach - Aurelio Vidmar
Some pundits questioned Adelaide-s squad, given some of the departures at the end of last season.
It-s always difficult at the end of the season when a lot of players are coming out of contract and the restrictions on the salary cap means we lost some players we probably would-ve kept, but most clubs go through that. The players that have come in are very solid and so far there-s been some very good signs. Although through the pre-season we haven-t had the luck of having all of them available - Lloyd Owusu suffered with swine flu and pneumonia - certainly when all our guys are available we-ll be a lot stronger.
What will Lloyd Owusu bring to the team?
He came here for two or three weeks in pre-season; he had a good look at us and we had a good look at him. He-s a seasoned pro, a very bubbly character and someone who makes things happen on the pitch. And he has that passion for football which is fantastic. He had to make sure he was coming into the right environment as well, because leaving Europe to come here with your family is a big step and he had to make sure Adelaide United was the right fit for him.
There were some doubts at the back as well, after losing players like Sasa Ognenovski, Ang Constanzo and Michael Valkanis, but you-ve brought in like-for-like quality…
I-ve been really pleased with (Iain) Fyfey and Robbie Cornthwaite. There was a lot of talk, and I think it was quite unfair on both those players, but particularly Fyfey with everyone thinking he had to be a replacement for Sasa.
Sasa was an excellent marker but not great on the ball; Fyfey is the opposite but what we-ve seen in him is a hell of a lot of experience and willingness to compete so we-ve been really pleased with his effort so far.
You have to remember, last year it wasn-t only Sasa - we had Eugene Galekovic, who was outstanding, Scott Jamieson, Robbie Cornthwaite and Daniel Mullen, who were all absolutely superb. It-s not about one player; there is a team theme certainly that-s important.
And you-ve added experience to that with Mark Rudan…
Rudes is a terrific leader on and off the park and a winner, and they-re fantastic qualities to have in any footballer. You need someone who-s going to go out and demand the very best from himself firstly, and from everyone else.
What can we expect from new boy Inseob Shin?
He came to us through his agent. He was about to go to Germany to have a couple of trials in their second division and we had the opportunity to look at him. He-s only a 20-year-old kid, but compared to some of the 20 year olds we have in this country, he-s streets ahead.
He-s going to take some time. He-s left his whole family and another country to come to a different culture and coming to a full-time setup. Although he was at a football college, he hasn-t been in a professional environment before, so he just needs a little bit of time.