Adelaide United defender Tarek Elrich maintains the Reds can still turn their season around, as the club prepare for their crucial Round 12 Boxing Day clash with ladder leaders Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium.
The reigning champions are lying at the bottom of the league standings and will be desperate for the three points against the Sky Blues as they attempt to revitalise their stuttering season.
However, Elrich admitted despite the team’s current predicament, morale is still high within the squad.
“All the boys come to training to train as hard as they can to make sure we get things right,” Elrich said.
“It’s not an easy thing to do especially when you’re at the bottom of the table and trying to get a few wins on the trot.
“For us we rock up to training, as you would’ve seen all the boys having a laugh today, not because we’re last, but because the team morale is still high.
“We all still get along very well in the change room it’s still a happy place in terms of personalities and friendships, but in saying that we all want to push each other to turn things around.”
Elrich insisted the responsibility of the club’s current form was purely down to the players and attributed a combination of misfortune and wastefulness in front of goal, as to why the Reds have struggled this campaign.
“Look it’s up to the players to turn the season around ourselves, we’re the ones that put on that jersey and run around for 90 minutes,” Elrich said.
“Even though the results haven’t been going our way, I don’t feel we’ve been playing really bad football.
“We’ve had our chances but just haven’t been able to capitalise and then we concede really soft goals, so for us it’s about making sure we can control what we can control.
“And that obviously the style of and giving everything in our training sessions each day.”
With United playing three of its next four matches at Coopers Stadium, Elrich highlighted the importance of collecting as many points as possible. And the full-back is confident the Reds can be the first side to trump the undefeated Sydney come Boxing Day.
“I think we’ve got enough quality and experience in the team to turn things around,” Elrich said.
“We’ll take it one game as it comes and there’s no bigger one than this game against Sydney FC.
“They haven’t lost a game and let’s make that a challenge for ourselves as the first team to beat them this season.”
The 29-year-old also said participating in the upcoming Asian Champions League group stage is a challenge the Reds are embracing and believes it will create extra competition within the side.
“The boys that haven’t been playing as many minutes as they would’ve expected will get more of a chance, so once the Champions League comes around the season gets a bit busier,” Elrich continued.
“Obviously it will give other players more opportunities to cement their spot as well, it will be a busy time for us, but it’s a challenge we welcome.”
Adelaide United host Sydney FC in Round 12 of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season on Monday, 26 December at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.