Cup lift and our internationals can boost us: Andrioli

Adelaide United Youth Head Coach, Airton Andrioli says a second consecutive Reserves Federation Cup triumph can restore his players’ confidence after a heavy two weeks.

Andrioli’s Senior Reds have fallen to consecutive 1-4 losses to both Sturt Lions and Modbury Jets in the RAA NPL, but he knows full well that a win can turn things around.

Especially a Cup triumph, of which the squad will feature a mix of eligible players through SA’s elite youth ranks, as has been the climate recently due to the close of the Isuzu Ute A-League that has also tested United’s depth.

Further, the success overnight of Nestory Irankunda and Nathan Amanatidis, who scored a rocket from outside of the box and the sealer respectively for Australia in a crucial AFC U-17 Asian Cup Thailand 2023 win, can boost morale exponentially.

Bailey O’Neil, Sotiri Phillis and Fabian Talladira are also regular NPL starters who are in the Joeys squad.

“There’s no doubt we’ve been challenged in recent weeks against teams who are really fighting in this competition and out to make their mark,” Andrioli said.

“At the end of the day due to the pressure that has been put on us, it has just come down to individual mistakes which we can fix, and it comes with quantity of games under the belt as well.

“Our stability has changed with a mix in personnel week in and week out, but it is likely we’ll see the benefits of this youth development down the line.

“What the boys can also draw in is the fact that their Club team-mates are doing so well in a major tournament like we’ve just seen with Nestor (Irankunda) and Nathan (Amanatidis), and our boys there.

“It’s exactly what we want from our development programs – for them to be playing at the highest level.”

United will need to turn the tide against Modbury in the Reserves Cup on Saturday afternoon, after the two sides met on the weekend in a 3-0 win for the Jets.

They will be boosted by the fact that they are the current holders of the competition and thrive in big game situations.

“This Final will be another great opportunity and the boys will be looking to potentially consolidate and win it again,” Andrioli said.

“We look forward to this game and hope that it helps the confidence around the grounds as well.”

Despite their poor run of form, United remain in finals contention for the League competition in third place, with the Jets hot on their heels after three consecutive victories.

The Reserves are five points adrift of Adelaide City in sixth position, but they have a game in hand with six games left of the regular season.

It doesn’t get easier for Andrioli’s young collective squad after the Cup break, however, with League fixtures against MetroStars at home on Saturday, 1 July followed by an away trip to FK Beograd in a Friday night blockbuster.

“We do have to manage the expectations of our players because of course they are very young and thrive on results like we all do,” Andrioli said.

‘That is the challenge for us as coaches, to try and keep spirits and confidence high through the group and any kind of win, especially with some silverware involved, can do that.

“But the main message is that we are keeping positive and learning from every game, because they all provide something different.”

Adelaide United will face Modbury Jets in the 2023 Federation Cup Reserves Final at ServiceFM Stadium (Pitch 2) at 12pm this Saturday, 24 June.