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Stenta’s Round 1 balancing act

Adelaide United Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, says his squad is far more balanced this season than previously, which he believes will stand them in good stead ahead of 2022/23.
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Adelaide United Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, says his squad is far more balanced this season than previously, which he believes will stand them in good stead ahead of 2022/23.

Speaking ahead of Round 1 of the Liberty A-League season, Stenta discussed his side’s preparations, the changes fans can expect to the squad, and the importance of finding balance when building a successful team.

Round 1 preparations:
“I think we’re really clear about the way we want to play, I think we’re really clear about the opposition we’re coming up against and the quality that they’ll bring.

“But even though it’s been a long off-season, it’s been quite a short pre-season in terms of the time afforded to us to work with all our players and get them all on the same page.

“I think every team is in the same boat, (but) we’re really lucky that we’re still able to lean on a core group of players that have been here consistently in my time here at the Club.

“We’re going to ask them to stand up and lead the way again and we think that the players that we have brought in offer a lot of quality as well.

“I’m really happy with the way the squad’s come together and how our preparations have come together for Round 1.

Squad changes:
“I just think we’ve got a lot more depth in certain areas (this season).

“It’s hard to replace players like Matilda McNamara (and) Kayla Sharples (who were) our centre-backs from last year, but I think we’ve brought in a really strong centre-back pairing with Maruschka (Waldus) and Jenna (McCormick).

Xiao Yuyi is one of Adrian Stenta’s new recruits.

“We’ve also got Ella Tonkin and I think she’s returned to us (ahead of the season) as a new player after some experiences with the the Young Matildas at a World Cup and training as part of their program.

“We’ve got a bit of unknown excitement in Xiao Yuyi and (we’re) looking forward to seeing what she can do, and then some good A-League pick-ups from a couple of the Melbourne clubs.

“(MelindaJ) Barbieri and Meisha Westland have come in and we think they’ll be fantastic for us.

“Then we’ve got our suite of scholarship players who are all really pushing to get into the matchday squad and into the starting lineup.

“So, for me, it’s great because I’ve got so many different players that I can use and call on.”

Balance is key:
“I think (depth) is always a bit of an issue if you look at our squad size.

Adrian Stenta leading his squad through a training session.

“If 16 players are making a matchday squad, and you’ve got 17 fully contracted players, you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that sometimes depth is an issue.

“I think what we’re better at this year is we’ve got a bit more balance across the squad and we’ve got a few more versatile players that can play a number of different roles for us.

“So it’s not just about the quality of the individual player, but it’s also about the way that I can use them as a coach.”