Coolen: Reds to take next step

Adelaide ready for competitive season Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen admits there is significant pressure on his side to get results again this season after coming so close last year.

Adelaide ready for competitive season Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen admits there is significant pressure on his side to get results again this season after coming so close last year.

The Reds were expected to go deep into the finals after finishing third and achieving home advantage, but were knocked out in the second week to the fourth-placed Gold Coast United.

Coolen said despite recognising the expectations and pressure building for his new look squad to go one better this season, he welcomed the challenge it presented.

"I feel the pressure but that's what you need as a football player. It means you are working for a big club who are working for the top positions," Coolen said.

"It will not be easy but that's with everything. You have to work hard for things. It's a nice challenge."

"We did very well last season in all areas, but we didn-t play in the grand final and of course everybody wants to play in the grand final."

"It goes too far for me to understand how people can think you have had a disaster season if you don't play the grand final, but that's the challenge you need and that's what we want and what we work for."

The Dutch coach expects a competitive season and believes it is crucial his side gets off to a strong start.

"I think if you look at the competition, all the teams are very competitive (when compared) to each other," Coolen said.

"It will be tough, especially in the first few founds, so we need points in the first week to get our confidence going."

The Reds begin their 2011/12 Hyundai A-League campaign on Sunday with a trip to Perth to face the Glory at nib Stadium.

The game has brought added attention to itself, with former Adelaide players Travis Dodd and Adam Hughes set to debut for Perth.

Coolen said he was particularly looking forward to former Reds captain, Dodd making an appearance, along with the added excitement he could bring to Sunday's clash.

"I think Travis showed us as a captain and as a football player that he is very good and can make a difference easily and quickly," Coolen said.

"I hope for him and everybody that he is on the pitch and available from the start ... (because) you like having those players in the A-League."

"He will be very dangerous and hopefully we can stop him."

Despite Dodd and Hughes' departure, United experienced overhaul during the off-season with the intention of building a stronger squad with more depth.

The likes of Zenon Caravella, Jon McKain, and European experienced players Spase Dilevski, Dario Vidosic and Evgeny Levchenko were amongst the fresh faces to join the Reds this season.

Coolen said it was important to find players with strong experience and qualities, who could deal with the pressure and competitiveness the A-League was set to provide this season, as well as help guide the younger players in the squad.

"It was important to get players in our squad who are influenced and experienced with that situation (playing under intense pressure and competitiveness)," Coolen said.

"We looked for the best players with the best balance in every kind of quality ... and those players who came back from overseas with an Australian background ... all had very good qualities and experience to bring into our squad."

"The experience they have playing overseas can be brought to our squad to also help work with the younger players."

"In that way we have a better squad, but all the clubs have a better squad then last season and that's what makes the competition a very good one."