Veart happy with defensive “desperation” in Ballarat win

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has praised his side’s desperate defending in the win over Western United on Sunday evening.

The Reds moved to within a point of the top of the Isuzu Ute A-League ladder with a 3-1 win over Western at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.

The home side had 23 shots to 22 including seven on target to six, but was regularly thwarted by Reds goalkeeper Joe Gauci and several last ditch blocks by his defence.

Speaking after the win, Veart pointed out that his side started with six players aged 23 or under including four teenagers, and that would come with some inconsistency.

But he was particularly proud of the way his side responded to the last-start loss to Sydney and the way it fought to both hit the front and keep the lead on Sunday evening.

Carl Veart on his overall thoughts on the performance against Western United:

“I’m happy with the desperation that we showed to stay in front. Western are quite a good side, very good attacking side, and they could have punished us a few times tonight, but we’re very fortunate that we’ve got a top quality goalkeeper in Joe (Gauci) and the defence at times put their body on the line, which was excellent. And then I think we’re always going to score goals with the quality players that we’ve got in attack as well so I’m very happy that we’ve got the three points.”

Carl Veart on the desperation shown by his side defensively:

“It’s something that we’ve been working on for a long time. We spent a lot of time during the week working on our defence and we’ve got to remember we’ve got quite a few younger players in our defence, you know, you’ve got Joe Gauci he’s still only 23, and you’ve got Popa (Alex Popović) that’s still quite young, Giuseppe (Bovalina), quite young, so it’s just a matter of keep working with them and getting them to the level that we want them to be at.

“I think the whole team will keep improving. I think today we started with six under 23s on the pitch, which is quite young. And we’ve known that that’s what our squad is, we’ve got some good senior professional players that are helping these young players develop into good players, and times where there are going to be some dips in their form. But we’re going to back them in and support them and keep working with them because that’s what we are. We’re here about developing our players to go on and move on to bigger and better things.”

Carl Veart on his instructions to the side before the match:

“I said to the boys before the game, I think our first two games of the season, we were outstanding and then we sort of dropped off a little bit against the Victory and then the Sydney game. And it’s about getting back to why we were so good in the first game and what that looked like. And we saw bits and pieces of that again to today.

“You know, it’s a difficult place to travel to Ballarat, the grass is a little bit different to what we were used to play it on. It’s a little bit slower. So yeah, very happy with the boys’ fight to get the three points.”

Carl Veart on why he opted to start teenager Luka Jovanivić ahead of Hiroshi Ibusuki up front:

“We wanted to play a lot more high tempo and a lot more high pressing. And Luka’s younger legs allows us to do that. And we saw when we brough Hiroshi on at the end, he can hold the ball up and cause a few issues at the back end of the game. So that’s all it was. Today, we wanted to start a little bit different after the last performance. We wanted to start quite fast and be quite aggressive.

“Luka is 18 years of age, learning the game. You know, he’s scored again, had one or two opportunities. And that’s what Luka is, Luka is a goal scorer. It’s great that he got a goal because he worked hard today and that’s a reward for the work that we asked him to do.”

Carl Veart on Ben Halloran’s strong start to the season:

“Ben has had to step up, since Craig (Goodwin) has moved on, and he certainly has done that. You know, not just what he’s doing on match day on the pitch, it’s what he’s doing every day on the training track, what he’s doing working with the younger players, he’s really stepped up and taking that responsibility. And we’ve seen in some of his performance so far this year, it’s been the Ben Halloran that we were used to.”