Gertjan Verbeek says Adelaide United are feeling confident but wary as they face Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup 2019 Semi-final on Wednesday night.
The boss highlighted the team’s relatively positive displays against Melbourne City during their Victoria training camp as reason for feeling optimistic about their chances of reaching a third straight cup final.
Verbeek was impressed with what he saw in the Reds’ 2-1 friendly win last Tuesday.
“I think we did well in the first match against Melbourne City,” Verbeek said when asked about how the squad was tracking.
“And I think if you saw the match they had eleven better players maybe but we were the better team.
“We scored from set pieces but also had some chances and we didn’t give a lot away.”
We are pleased to announce striker @yeeengi7 has officially signed a scholarship contract with the Club. 👊 #AUFC
— Adelaide United (@AdelaideUnited) September 30, 2019
On their 5-3 loss in the second game, Verbeek added: “… In the second game was less and you see the quality is better by Melbourne City, but also in that game we never believed that we were chanceless.
“After the first-half was 3-1, then 3-2, 4-2, 4-3 and in the end it was 5-3, but still there were moments that we had good pressing and good attacking.
“So I’m satisfied about the little training camp but now it’s going about a real game – a Semi-final and that’s quite different.
“The way we trained last week also the quality was really good so I’m satisfied about the work they did because it was heavy.”
The 57-year-old, who won the KNVB Beker with AZ Alkmaar in 2013, admitted the Mariners have improved but was certain Adelaide could advance if they stick to his philosophy.
“If you give them space and belief and a good result, they will also get a good result,” Verbeek said of the Mariners.
“So we have to try to do our best play in the pre-season and then I’m convinced we can beat them.
“But they’re not in the Semi-finals for nothing, so they will have qualities.
“I saw some game where they get a lot of space and did well and I’ve also seen there was a big difference between the two games I saw in the players that played.
“So we’re not quite sure who are starting, but we also know how they’re organised and how we can get a good result against them.”
Verbeek also ruled out newly signed Kusini Yengi and Michaël Maria for the clash with the pair only re-joining training from respective groin and abdominal issues last week.
However, the Dutchman said one of Nikola Mileusnić (hamstring) and Pacifique Niyongabire were in line to travel if they proved their fitness on Monday.
Adelaide United face Central Coast Mariners in the Semi-finals of the FFA Cup 2019 on Wednesday, 2 October at Central Coast Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACST. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.