Vidmar praises defence

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his team's defensive overhaul during the off-season has paid dividends at the business end of the year.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his team's defensive overhaul during the off-season has paid dividends at the business end of the year.

United managed to beat an attacking Queensland in the Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday despite being blown away on the stats sheet.

The Roar had 13 more shots on goal, entered their penalty area 16 extra times and had 11 corners to one, including nine in the second half. And yet the South Australian side held on to win by a goal.

Vidmar said the team had decided to measure its own attacking game after a disappointing 2007/08 season in which it missed the finals for the first time.

"Last year we learned a fair bit because we scored the most goals in the competition last year and we also conceded the most," he said.

"So one thing we wanted to do this year was make sure we got our defence right and it's no fluke, the hard work the players have put in defensively, we have conceded the least this year."

"It's the old cliche about strong defence wins championships so I was extremely happy with everyone tonight and certainly we defended extremely well and that's the way we got into this position."

"I just spoke to Craig Moore and he said it was one of our strengths in keeping their corners out and they had to change up a little bit and go short on a couple of occasions. It was quite hairy sometimes."

Vidmar's theory does not explain Adelaide conceding six goals in its semi-final clashes against Melbourne.

But he is hopeful his team can improve its efforts against the Victory.

"I certainly feel they've got a fair edge on us and we need to play extremely well to at least keep it under six," he said in relation to the team's last Hyundai A-League Grand Final appearance.

"Certainly we've got a lot of work to do in terms of coming back from where we've been with those two games against Melbourne and certainly they are hot favourites."

"We know their strengths, it's just about us playing at a decent level where we can stop those strengths."

"This was a massive step forward for us."

Meanwhile, Vidmar said it was a 'relief' Adelaide could breakthrough for a finals victory.

"It was a great response. After what has happened over the last couple of weeks, our performances have certainly been well below par, and I thought tonight was a good sign of what we've done for the majority of the season," he said.

"This was like a (grand) final for us … because it means so much to our club, so much to our fans."