Clough pleased with promising start

Zach Clough expressed his delight after Adelaide United produced a professional performance in the Australia Cup 2022 Round of 32 against Newcastle Jets.

The Reds recorded a solid 2-0 win to advance to the last 16 for a seventh time, courtesy of goals from George Blackwood and Hiroshi Ibusuki at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“I think we started really well considering we’ve only been back three weeks,” Clough said in a post-match interview with Network 10.

“We’re in the middle of pre-season so the game was probably a little bit slower than in the midst of the A-League season.

“I think we could of scored more if we were a little bit more clinical but we’ll take the result and go to the next round now.”

The Englishman was impressive in the Club’s first game of the 2022/23 campaign, orchestrating both goals.

His crossing free-kick on the stroke of half-time enabled Blackwood to head home the free ball and then in the second stanza he assisted Hiroshi’s stunning acrobatic strike.

However, the 27-year-old midfielder was quick to heap praise on the Japanese striker after adjusting to his delivery.

“I thought I’d put it a little bit too far behind him,” he felt.

“But that’s was Hiroshi does, he’s an unbelievable finisher in the box and he made a decent ball into an unbelievable ball. Great finish.”

Clough admitted he has worked extremely hard to get his body 100 per cent right with a full pre-season allowing him to do that after arriving in February – midway during the campaign.

He had spent part of the offseason training with fellow friends and Premier League players Matty Cash of Aston Villa and West Ham captain Declan Rice.

“I was working really hard in the offseason because I came in off an eight-week injury and it was tough to find my feet in the heat,” he said.

“And this weather is a little bit more like English weather so it was nice, but hopefully I can build into the season.”

Clough revealed Head Coach, Carl Veart, spoke about the importance of the tournament to the Club before kick-off.

“We’ve won it the most times in the history of the competition and the manager said let’s go and make history ourselves tonight,” he continued.

“And hopefully we can go all the way if we keep working hard.”

The draw for the Round of 16 will take place on Wednesday night after the final Round of 32 matches.