Adrian Stenta praised the mental fortitude from his players after Adelaide United’s impressive 4-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium on Friday.
The match, originally scheduled for Thursday night, had to be postponed by a day as a result of severe hail and thunderstorms.
Stenta lauded the character of his team following its third away match in nine days, particularly with how they acquitted themselves after half-time with a noticeable lift in intensity.
United scored twice in five minutes to essentially kill the game off before the hour mark.
“I think it was a gutsy performance because we’ve been on the road for three consecutive games inside a week,” Stenta said in a post-match interview with AUFC Media.
“And especially after what happened last night as well, there’s no doubt the players were fatigued and it was a challenge mentally.
“Wellington asked some questions of us. So to come out and perform the way we did in the second-half showed a lot of courage.”
Chelsie Dawber scored a double and Fiona Worts netted one goal to draw level on 10 goals each for the season and move equal with Melbourne City’s Hannah Wilkinson in the Golden Boot race.
Stenta highlighted their incredible form and the impact it has had on the team.
Since the Liberty A-League’s inception in 2008, no Adelaide player had reached double figures in a solitary season until now.
“It’s fantastic because I don’t think we’ve had one player do that let alone two (score 10 goals in a season),” he said.
“I think they’re really complementing each other, and at the same time they’re really pushing each other as well.
“To have that competition, but also partnership in your side is invaluable.”
The Reds now have a full week to prepare for its upcoming clash against Melbourne Victory in a Pride Game double header at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
They are on the brink of securing a maiden finals appearance, but three points would all but guarantee a top-four berth and mean they will not need to rely on results falling their way.
Stenta was embracing challenge against one of the competition’s best teams and said it will be a magnificent occasion, hoping to see a big crowd.
“I’m looking forward to getting a decent training week in, so that we can review and work on a couple of things,” he said.
“They really hammered us in the first week in terms of the result (5-1 loss), so we’re really looking forward to playing them again.
“I think it’s a really important game and I know the girls are really looking forward to playing in the Pride Game too.
“We hope a lot of people come and support that initiative because it’s fantastic.”
The positive result over Wellington also means Adelaide has registered its highest points tally in a single campaign with 24 – breaking last year’s record of 22 points.
“I was really happy that we were able to do that last year,” said a proud Stenta.
“And so to go better within 12 games this year again, it just shows the mindset of this team and that’s why they’re a pleasure to coach.”