Djite on referees, Reds and Finals Series

Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite spoke to the media this morning, discussing the Reds’ form slump, his side’s harsh treatment by referees and confidence heading into the Finals Series.

On if they can rediscover their form ahead of the Finals Series

“I certainly think we can. We haven’t been at our best for the last month or so, that’s something we’re working on.

“Now’s the time to change gears, really prepare well and be ready for the finals.

“It’s a whole new competition now, it’s knockout and we’re well aware of that.

“We don’t want a repeat of last season where we lost that first finals game. We’re willing and able. We will be ready.”

On Reds allegedly being harshly treated by referees

“I think certainly. But it’s not a unique scenario. In a lot of different leagues that I’ve played in you find that the bigger clubs, the referees don’t favour them but are more reluctant to make any contentious decisions against those bigger clubs.

“We fall victim to that now and then but so do many teams around the world. It’s just part and parcel of the game.

“Personally I have good relationships with all the referees, they do the best that they can and it’s a tough job.

“Sometimes when the big guys come to town or you’re playing away at their stadium and maybe there’s a penalty or not, or a red card or not, [the referees] are uncomfortable to make that decision because the media makes a big deal about it and what have you.”

On the need to change tactics if they keep getting pulled up by referees

“No I don’t think so. You give them the benefit of the doubt and just play your game like normal.

“You don’t let it affect you too much. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, it’s been working quite well for us up to now.

“There’s no reason to change things now at this crucial part of the season.”

On changes to team this week making it hard to prepare for Finals Series

“The ideal would be to play with exactly the same team [this week] that you would envisage playing the first finals game with and the guys that have played the whole season.

“But in saying that we’ve been playing with roughly the same first 11 for large portions of this season and if we lost a player for a finals game because they got suspended because they got a yellow card or something it would be a very hefty price to play.

“Those boys [James Jeggo, Isaias, Pablo Sanchez] may well be rested this week I think they will.

“But the boys that come in have a good opportunity to not only finish off the season well but also push their claims for that finals game.”

On possibility of play Melbourne City FC two weeks in a row

“This [weekend’s] game and then first finals game if it is against City will be a very different game. It’s two different competitions so it will be a different kettle of fish.

“Everyone knows everyone very, very well. That could be a reason why or second half of the season form hasn’t been as good as our first half of the season form.

“Teams analyse more and the more often you play them the harder it gets and the more well-aware they are of your weapons and nullify that.”

On rising to the occasion for big games

“When we’re on, and I believe come the finals we will be on, we’ll be very hard to stop.

“Many teams have seen that this season. When there’s a lot on the line and you know you lose your out our boys can come to the fore in those sorts of scenarios.”