Reds face uphill battle

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar admits that his side has its work cut out getting back in form ahead of Wednesday's AFC Champions League quarter final clash with Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar admits that his side has its work cut out getting back in form ahead of Wednesday's AFC Champions League quarter final clash with Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers.

The Reds suffered their first defeat in13 outings against a ten-man Melbourne on Friday night and travel to Japan having lost much of the momentum gained by a run of strong performances which stretched back to the penultimate round of last season.

For Vidmar, who must prepare his players for two ACL games and two more Hyundai A-League games in the next fortnight, the 1-0 loss couldn't have come at a worse time.

"We just need to pick ourselves up, mentally and physically. We really need now people to stand up, everyone. It will be tough, and only the strong will survive," he said after Friday's match.

"We fly into Sydney on Saturday, then fly to Japan on Sunday. We really need to get ourselves cracking, because there's not much time. We will get there late Sunday night and just work on a few things on Monday and Tuesday in readiness for the game on Wednesday, which is going to be very tough," he said.

Vidmar said he would be disappointed if his players had got too far ahead of themselves and started thinking about the game against the Antlers before the match against Melbourne.

"There's no sacrifice about a game on Wednesday. We spoke about it on Thursday, thinking solely about tonight's game," he said. "It is each game on its own merit. You can't think ahead because you get into trouble. It's just one of those games tonight, it happens, you play against ten and you get beat."

Skipper Travis Dodd, who had a horrid day, missing several close-range headers, said there was no sign during the week that the Reds had lost their spark.

"The week off, we trained pretty intense. The week leading up to this game, we tapered off at training. There were just short, sharp sessions during the week. There's really no reason why. A couple of boys said afterwards, they felt heavy out there. I guess personally, I didn't feel too bad," Dodd said.

The one positive for Adelaide was that there were no injuries from the match. Meanwhile, Vidmar said he will appeal to his players' sense of pride ahead of Wednesday's match.

"We are certainly representing the country, there's no doubt about that. Every single player is representing themselves and also Adelaide United. We've got total faith in the whole squad to be able to do something on Wednesday night. Especially over the two legs," he said.

"If the media think we are going there for numbers. I was asked during the week if I would be happy with a small loss. We've got pretty positive people in the squad, I know we can bounce back, and we have to."