Carl Veart was thrilled with the competitive spirit Adelaide United displayed to grind out a hard-fought 1-0 win against Macarthur FC on Friday night.
Hiroshi Ibusuki’s header on the stroke of half-time was the difference on the night in a match which Adelaide largely controlled after the 30 minute mark.
A relieved Veart was delighted his side managed to return to the winners’ circle after four matches without success.
“It’s always a great feeling isn’t it when you’re winning,” he told reporters post-game at Coopers Stadium.
“Tonight was even better because it was such a tough game tonight, and the boys stuck to the way we wanted to play and they really dug in and grinded out a 1-0 result in the end.
“So very happy for the playing group, they worked extremely hard the last few weeks – even though we haven’t got the results we wanted – and they’ve stuck to their task and tonight we got the three points.”
Veart praised the impact of Ibusuki after the Japanese striker delivered arguably his best performance of the season as he scored his fifth goal.
The boss was confident his services will be retained beyond the current campaign.
“There’s a good chance he’ll stay with us next year,” he said.
“I think he’s been tremendous for us and he’s a great guy in the changeroom as well which is very critical for us.
“We want to have good guys in the changeroom. He is certainly a top guy and you see the way he plays and brings players into the game he’s a quality player.”
Alexandar Popović was also superb in just his third professional appearance and second start.
The 19-year-old centre-back cut a composed figure and Veart believes the young defender’s ceiling is high if he continues to work hard.
“I suppose I’m fortunate that I’ve known Alex (Popović) and coached Alex for a long time, so I know what his strengths are and I have great belief in him,” he said.
“That’s why he’s here playing and he showed again tonight, I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or not but we’ve had two clean sheets when he’s played at the back.
“He’s an out-and-out, first of all defender. That’s his great strength, he knows how to defender and he puts himself on the line and he also has good composure on the ball.
“He’s got a long way to go and I believe he can go a long way in this game.”
Veart also confirmed Ryan Kitto, Bernardo and George Blackwood will be available for selection for Adelaide’s next match against Sydney FC on Tuesday night after testing positive for Covid-19.