McNamara: We won’t underestimate Phoenix

Matilda McNamara

Matilda McNamara is preparing for a tough game against Wellington Phoenix, despite the newest Liberty A-League outfit situated at the bottom of the table.

McNamara felt the Phoenix’s results have not been indicative of their performances this season and has seen continuous signs of improvement.

The defender insisted Adelaide United will not be complacent going into Friday night’s clash at Coopers Stadium

“I think they’ve been unfortunate not to have grabbed a few more points,” McNamara said.

“They’re quite a young side and obviously a lot of the girls are new to the league this year.

“But in saying that, I do think after watching a lot of their games they have so much potential, they’ve shown some really good passages of play and because of that as a team we’re definitely not underestimating them just because they’re on the bottom of the ladder.

“On their day I think they could probably beat any side in the league if they wanted to.

“We’re hoping we can play our best and will be enough to beat them, but they’re definitely showing some promise.

“So we’re not underestimating them at all.”

So far, for Wellington’s promise shown, they have amassed just the one point which occurred on the opening day of the campaign.

Last weekend the ‘Nix were 2-0 up against Brisbane Roar but succumbed to a 3-2 loss.

“I think that’s probably been their weakness, not being able to get that consistency over the 90 minutes which I think unfortunately has been a bit of our weakness as well for the season,” she said.

“So making sure that we’re playing a full 90 minute game, I think we should be able to get the job done against them.

“But also being cautious that they can play some really good football in patches and not letting them score a goal whilst they’re doing that.”

However, as McNamara alluded to, with Adelaide yet to put together a complete 90-minute performance themselves, she felt Friday’s fixture was the perfect game to rectify that.

The 23-year-old felt her side can improve in being more patient in possession and controlling the tempo, while simultaneously being ruthless in attack.

“I think it’s always trying to be as clinical as we can up front,” she said.

“But also picking our moments within the 90 minutes to go forward and to know when is the time we just need to keep possession and make the other team run around a bit.

“I think that’s something as a team we can really add to our game and make it more difficult for teams to play against us and hopefully this week we can do it a bit more and get the result because of it.”

McNamara, who has scored two goals in 24 matches for the Reds, also spoke about the centre-back partnership she has slowly established alongside American Kayla Sharples.

The pair have only played next to each other in the heart of defence for the previous two matches and have made a solid start and one that will only progress.

“Kayla has been great,” she explained.

“It’s been good that we finally got some matches together and we’re starting to learn how each other play.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing the past two games next to her.

“It’s been good, I think we’re just going to continue to build and get better as a centre-back duo.

“She’s been lovely, lovely person but also a really great player to play with.”

Matilda McNamara and Kayla Sharples
Kayla Sharples (left) and Matilda McNamara.

Coopers Stadium is the venue for Friday’s match and although the Reds suffered a 1-0 loss to Melbourne City last weekend, it has proven to be a fortress for them in recent years.

That setback against City was Adelaide’s first loss in seven matches in Hindmarsh, dating back to 2012.

“I obviously have a bit of bias but I do think it’s the best football ground in Australia – it’s built for it,” she admitted.

“The grass is fantastic and just getting to play there feels amazing.

“The girls love it in particular and I do think we perform a lot better when we play at Coopers Stadium, so I’m hoping we can do the same this weekend.”