Stenta: Foundations laid for further improvement

Adrian Stenta taking his side for training.
2022/23 tickets on sale.

Adelaide United Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, says the basis for success has been established ahead of Friday’s commencement of pre-season.

The group he has built has cause for optimism, after a successful Liberty A-League 2021/22 season that saw the Reds qualify for their maiden finals campaign, with nine wins and five losses at the end of a tough ten-team competition.

Most pleasingly for Reds fans is that the bulk of the squad has signed-on, which is telling of the environment that Stenta has continued to foster since taking charge in August 2020.

“I think the keys to last year’s success was that we’ve had some consistency in the squad over the last few years, so we’re starting to the see the fruits of that investment,” Stenta said.

“We didn’t only have consistency in the squad, but it was consistency in the starting line-up as well and I think it helped that a lot of players had regular minutes and got used to playing with each other.

“The end of last season was so bittersweet for us because it was a fantastic, history-making achievement (making our first finals) and I can understand why it was met positively, but we felt like we had more in the tank and more to give.”

Forward, Fiona Worts, the competition’s top goal scorer and Julie Dolan Medallist will remain in red after finding the back of the net 13 times, while Captain, Isabel Hodgson, deservedly retains the arm-band.

United have further bolstered their stocks too, with the major coups of midfielders MelindaJ Barbieri (poached from Melbourne Victory) and Meisha Westland (Melbourne City), as well as the return of experienced centre-backs Jenna McCormick, after five years away from United, and former Dianne Alagich medallist, Maruschka Waldus.

The experience of Barbieri, McCormick, and Waldus, and enthusiasm of Westland, who broke through for her first 12 top-flight matches last season, will only contribute to the squad’s growing depth.

All three have been on the record stating their new coach’s attractive style of football as a key factor in their relocation south.

The squad is almost complete, pending the outcome of a couple of on-going discussions.

Stenta also notes the ‘winning’ mentality the squad have developed as a key factor in their vast improvement in the two previous seasons especially.

“In the last few years we’ve mainly been about developing that winning culture where we go into seasons and we go into games not hoping to win, but expecting to win.

“I feel like we’ve got that now and we can use what happened last year to spur us on and provide motivation into this coming season.

“And that core of that group is still there; they are not only all good footballers but just such wonderful ambassadors for the Club and good people.

“It’s really easy to have a positive culture within a team environment when you’re working with good footballers and great people.”

The focus for Stenta and his hard-working Reds this pre-season is firstly setting the same standards and discipline that took them to the finals, and secondly, plotting the path to the ultimate crown, a deserved maiden Championship.

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