Adelaide United Captain Stefan Mauk says his side’s dramatic loss against Wellington Phoenix a fortnight ago is serving as motivation to avenge that result when the pair meet again this Friday.
This time it is the Reds that entertain the Phoenix at Coopers Stadium after falling 2-1 in Wollongong.
Mauk felt his team deserved something more from that game after Adelaide failed to convert its chances and kill the game off before succumbing to defeat.
He said it was a massive game in the context of both team’s wanting to reach their season targets.
“We thought we played really well in that game, particularly in the second-half,” he reflected to the media.
“To lose it last minute like that was a pretty bad thing to happen, but also it’s spurring us on for this week and they’re really good team.
“They’ve got a lot to play for, they obviously want to make the finals and we’ve got a lot to play for.
“We want to finish in the top two and that’s still within reach and that starts this Friday with getting three points.”
The 25-year-old added that facing them so soon after its setback is helpful, but equally praised the ‘Nix’s quality and warned they must be fully focused.
“Going through the video today you know exactly how they played and you can see what we did well and you can see what they did well,” he said.
“I believe they’re a very good team. They play the ball quite well and they’ve got some good individual players and they’ve got a lot on the line and I think they need to win most of their remaining games to make the finals.
“And we know that it’s going to be a fight on Friday night and we’re definitely up for the challenge.”
Adelaide are winless in its previous three games and was held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Western United last weekend despite having an extra man for more than half the game.
Mauk said after analysing the game it has since provided them with another learning experience.
“It’s probably been the most disappointed the playing group has felt since early days when we had a couple of bad losses,” he said when asked to reflect on United’s most recent display.
“Even though we’ve lost a couple recently I think we’ve played really well. On Friday night we probably didn’t have our best game.
“It’s funny to say but when a team goes down to ten men sometimes it actually can become harder mentally because you maybe switch off a little bit and they’re obviously throwing a bit more at it.
“They’re probably one of the better defensive teams as well, so it was really hard to break them down and we’ve learnt from that.”
Friday, 7 May vs Wellington Phoenix
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 20
Kick-off 7.05pm ACST
Gates open 6.05pm ACST
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App