Adelaide United midfielder, Nathan Konstandopoulos, has made an encouraging start to life under new Head Coach, Gertjan Verbeek.
Konstandopoulos said he has relished working with the Dutchman and learning his free-flowing philosophy since his arrival, and further revealed what the boss’ plans are for him this campaign.
“He’s very firm and disciplined as we all expected and our training style has been really short and sharp and intense,” he said.
“My role in the team has basically been in that number 8 role – more of a box-to-box midfielder – because he can see that I’ve got potential and my running ability is one of my strengths.
“So basically I sit in between the number 10 and the number 6. Just getting forward and dropping back and seeing if I can create through the midfield.”
It is a role familiar with the 23-year-old, who hopes he can be more influential in the attacking third either by scoring or assisting goals.
And if pre-season is anything to go by, the technically gifted midfielder is certainly looking to be more assertive in attacking areas.
He was involved in three goals and made two assists in a friendly against Raiders last Tuesday, and also scored a stunning long-range strike in an internal at Coopers Stadium the week prior.
“I think as a midfielder, you’ve to try and get forward as much as you can especially as a number 8,” he believed.
“And my goal is always to help assist and even score goals and I feel that’s an area of my game I really need to improve on in that final third.
“And I’ll be a great asset to the team if I can keep putting in performances like that where I’m attacking and playing good football going forward.”
Konstandopoulos was also confident the team was travelling in the right direction as it continues absorbing and executing Verbeek’s style – which is built on maintaining possession but also utilising quick, incisive passes to break down opposing sides.
“This coach really enjoys attacking football, he wants us to go forward as quickly as we can but without kicking the ball long,” he said.
“So it’s all short and sharp, quick passes, movements, our style is a little bit more fluid.
“So we’ll see movements and changing positions and it’s very hard to defend. So far we’ve worked predominantly on our build up and now we’re starting to incorporate more of the defensive side.
“But so far it’s been good. It’s been fresh, new ideas and I think the boys are really buying into it well.”
Konstandopoulos is also in line to make his 50th appearance for the Reds in all competitions if he features against Melbourne Knights on Wednesday night.
He expected nothing less than a difficult clash against a side that will be extra motivated coming up against a Hyundai A-League outfit.
“I think these games are always the toughest,” he said.
“You’re going to unfamiliar territory against a team that’s in the peak of their season, who are hungry for success in the cup and we’ve only just started our pre-season.
“They’re going to play like it’s a grand final for some of these players and we just have to take it like we would every other game.
“We’re going to go there and fight hard just as hard as they will and just really take it to them.
“I feel like if we just play our game and we play hard and work hard we’ll be okay, but it’s always a difficult test especially on some of their pitches.
“But I think we’ll be good and we’ll be able to handle the pressure and be able to get the job done.”
Adelaide United face Melbourne Knights in the Round of 32 of the FFA Cup 2019 on Wednesday, 7 August at Knights Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACST. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports.