Adelaide coach Michael Valkanis says his team cannot rest on their laurels, despite being all but assured of playing at home in the first week of the finals.
Adelaide United coach Michael Valkanis says his team cannot rest on their laurels, despite the fact they are virtually assured of playing at home in the first week of the Hyundai A-League finals.
The Reds moved nine points clear of fifth-placed Sydney FC with an impressive 2-0 victory over Melbourne Heart on Monday night and now need just one point from their remaining three matches to be certain of a top-four finish.
But Valkanis believes Adelaide need to forget about the ladder and start concentrating on performing consistently in the run-in to the finals.
"We have had our ups and down in form, but we need to switch on and keep it on," a frank Valkanis said after the victory over the Heart.
"You keep thinking that we have got games in front of us and we are in the finals, but we just need to think about it a game at a time."
Valkanis admitted that results had gone Adelaide's way in recent weeks, leaving virtually no pressure on his side to perform.
"Adelaide for a long time have been sitting in a good position on the ladder, very comfortable and all the media talk has been the top four is set and just all the rest are trying to find positions in the top six," he said.
"Sometimes it is very easy to get in that mindset to get in the comfort zone and think there is the next game, we can switch on whenever we want and we will be in the finals anyway.
"But that doesn't mean you are going to play good football and that doesn't mean you will be in the top six."
Valkanis said his team must put the impressive performance in Melbourne behind them immediately and turn their attention to their home game against Newcastle on Friday night.
"From tomorrow morning the focus will be on the next game against Newcastle," he said.
"Make no doubt about it Newcastle are fighting to be in the top six and for us it is about finding that form and not waiting for the finals to flick on the switch.
"The players know this and have talked about this at length. They have made a great step moving forwards and now it is about keeping it up."