Adelaide United star Tarek Elrich said the struggling team have to get their "arrogance" back, starting with Sunday's A-League outing against Newcastle Jets.
By
Greg Prichard

21 Nov 2015 - 1:10 PM  UPDATED 21 Nov 2015 - 2:51 PM

The clash will mark the first time the two teams have met at Coopers Stadium since 24 January, when Adelaide whipped the Jets 7-0, and the return of Reds captain and goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic from injury. 

United was playing much better last season and the Jets were on the skids but the competition table looks very different for both teams this season.

Newcastle entered Round 7 in fifth place, eight points ahead of rock-bottom Adelaide. United, now coached by Guillermo Amor after Josep Gombau's departure at the start of the pre-season, are the only team in the competition yet to win a game.

Elrich admitted the confidence of the Adelaide players had inevitably been dented and they weren't playing with the same arrogance that made them believe they could play their way out of sticky situations last season.

"We're not playing with enough arrogance," he said. "Last season, things were going well and we were winning games.

"We'd get opened up a little bit at the back but we wouldn't get punished too much. This season we are getting punished by opposition goals.

"Josep would get us to try things and play with a lot of confidence and if we made a mistake we would put that behind us. We might concede a goal but we knew we could go down the other end and score.

"At the moment we've lost that arrogance because we're not winning games and we've played against teams that have beaten us 4-2 in the last two weeks. Those sort of results obviously don't help your confidence."

Elrich said the players had not lost faith in the team's style of play and he believed Adelaide could turn the results around quickly. However, they needed something good to happen and soon.

"The good thing is we're still playing good football," he said. "But at the back we're just giving away too many.

"Defence is a collective thing for a team and we're not defending well enough and that's why we're low on the ladder.

"And when you're low on the ladder things seem to go against you and you don't have any luck.

"We've got to stick together as a team and make sure we do what we know we can do. The coach has spoken about it to us. It's not like 'if we lose this game then we're out of the finals', there are 20 rounds to go after this one.

"We're still confident in what we're trying to do at Adelaide, we still believe in the style of play, it's just hard at the moment because of the results.

"But we know we've just got to keep working on what we're trying to do and I think we're just one win away from getting that confidence back.

"The coach has said to us, 'don't look at the ladder, look ahead to the game'. It's a big one against a good team and we know what we need to do to win it.

"Guillermo got thrown under the bus a little bit in terms of taking this squad on at late notice for him, but he has handled himself well and he is steering us in the right direction."

STATS THAT MATTER

:: No player has had more goal assists this season than Newcastle's David Carney (three)

:: Newcastle have faced 98 shots this season, a league high.

Jets coach Scott Miller is driving a hard bargain with his players and was intent on making them accountable for only getting a 1-1 draw at home against a 10-man Central Coast Mariners side last weekend.Elrich said Adelaide were ready for a totally different game to the drubbing of Januray, which was the catalyst for a massive shake-up at Newcastle that ended with Nathan Tinkler and Phil Stubbins departing as owner and coach respectively and the FFA taking control of the club.

Elrich said Adelaide were ready for a totally different game to the drubbing of January, which was the catalyst for a massive shake-up at Newcastle that ended with Nathan Tinkler and Phil Stubbins departing as owner and coach respectively and the FFA taking control of the club.

"They've got every right to come here with a lot of confidence, with the form they're in," he said.

"They're playing well and they're in a lot better position than they were last season, so that 7-0 result goes out the window when you're weighing things up going into this game."

The Jets also have a couple of ex-Reds in their ranks to offer inside knowledge of their foes - and plenty of lip too. 

"Nigel Boogaard has brought them plenty of experience and he was a great player for us," Elrich said.

"Cam Watson had a few injuries here but at the same time he was also a good player and he's doing a great job there at Newcastle as well.

"Newcastle are in a much better place than they were in the past and it will be a good test for us."

United winger Craig Goodwin - who played 44 times for the Jets before linking up with the Reds - knows just what Boogard brings to the table also in terms of his sledging abilities.

"Yeah he probably will with a few of the players," Goodwin said. "You have to just be professional. You can give as bit back to him but at the right time.

"There is always those little bits (in games) where you are trying to put people off their game.

"I'd say we would just focus on ourselves.

"We're in a situation where we want to be switched on 100 per cent of the time and do our job in every moment of the match."