Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz says they will be tougher opposition for Sydney FC this time.Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz is warning benchmarks Sydney FC they’ll confront a much-improved Reds outfit in Friday night’s A-League opener.
United will be without injured striker George Blackwood for the fixture in Adelaide but Kurz is brimming with confidence about his club’s prospects for the season.
“Our squad is stronger, much better than last season,” Kurz told reporters on Thursday.
Blackwood is sidelined because of calf soreness as Kurz plots the downfall of the Sky Blues, who he rates as the domestic benchmark, in a prelude to the clubs meeting again in the FFA Cup final on October 30.
“Sydney was last season the best team in both tournaments,” Kurz said of the Sky Blues, who were beaten league semi-finalists after claiming another premiers plate.
“And this season, I expect them also on the top position. For us, it’s good to see how good we are against such a team.”
Adelaide lost an elimination final last season – Kurz’s first in charge of the Reds.
But the German-born manager said he, like his squad, was better prepared entering the fresh season.
“For me, the first year was a lot of things to learn, about the league, about the team qualities, about the players,” Kurz said.
“And now I feel more comfortable. I know now about the players, I know the play style from the opponents better than last season.
“And of course I feel a little bit more comfortable because when we start the pre-season this year it was easier for the boys – they know the training, they know what they have to do.
“This pre-season was much easier to explain what I expect from the boys.”
“Our aim was in the pre-season to get the players fit, to create our play style and also that we reach the Cup final – and we did it, that’s a big compliment for the boys.
“But now, after a long time pre-season, we will see. I think we are ready. The boys look sharp, very focused.”
Kurz said he expected new Sydney coach Steve Corica to employ much the same blueprint as his predecessor Graham Arnold.
“Both teams will play offence. We don’t have a defensive playing style and I think Sydney is only offence,” he said.
STATS THAT MATTER
* Adelaide haven’t beaten Sydney in the past six encounters, with the Sky Blues winning four and two draws
* Sydney are unbeaten in their past 18 matches outside of NSW
* Adelaide are undefeated in their past six season-openers with three wins and three draws