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Manton St Tales

United behind the play on tactics

Manton St Tales

Adelaide United’s loss to Perth Glory last Friday night is a lesson for players and coaching staff, writes Spiro Karanikos-Mimis.

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It’s hard not to sympathise with Tomi Juric.

At the end of United’s capitulation to Perth, he stormed down the player’s tunnel and headed straight for the change rooms.

Adelaide’s media manager tried desperately to get the Socceroo to stay on the pitch to be interviewed by Fox Sports and sign a mini-soccer ball for the supporters.

But he didn’t want a bar of it. He was right to be furious with what had played out before him.

Perth had turned a one-nil deficit into a two-one win on the back of sublime performances from Neil Kilkenny and Diego Castro.

All things being equal, Adelaide should have at least taken one point from this fixture.

Juric’s frustration seemed to stem from multiple chances going awry with much of his displeasure targeted at Mohamed Toure, who spurned multiple chances to play the ball to Juric in strong scoring positions.

We’ve discussed the uber-talented Mo Toure. But it is easy to forget that he is still very young and inexperienced.

The match against Perth was only his 15th appearance in the A-League. He is still fine-tuning his craft and poor decision making will be something we will have to tolerate until he’s got more game time under his belt.

(Interestingly, Mo Toure has only played 379 minutes of A-league football, which equates to roughly 25 minutes a match.)

But Juric’s frustration could also be because of the tactics employed by Adelaide in the second half.

The Reds started the game in a 4-3-3 formation, with Stefan Mauk playing an advanced number 10 role beside Juric.

In the second half, United adjust to a 4-4-2, with Mauk moving into a flat midfield formation with Joe Caletti and Mo Toure playing as a second striker with Juric.

The change in structure seemed to work early in the second half, but Perth adjusted and completely dominated in the last 30 minutes.

And whilst we can debate the decision to bring on Mo Toure instead of Nathan Konstandopoulos at half-time to replace Louis D’Arrigo (or the decision to take D’Arrrigo off at all to be fair), the most mind-boggling tactical change came soon after.

When Ben Halloran took a knock and needed replacing, Adelaide had to take off Stefan Mauk also (whose game time is being managed to avoid further injury).

The reason a double change was required is due to the new rules which say that you can only stop the game three times to make your five substitutions.

Adelaide had taken off Yaya Dukuly early in the first half, with Veart unhappy at the youngster’s effort.

Only a few minutes later, they were forced to remove Michael Jakobsen who got injured. That was two breaks in play.

United’s Mohamed Toure. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

The half-time substitution of D’Arrigo didn’t count towards the quota but the Reds could only stop the game once more after that to bring on two players.

At the time of the Mauk/Halloran double change, Veart et al had Michael Marrone, Konstandopoulos and Kusini Yengi to bring on. Adelaide was still winning at this point.

On came Yengi and Konstadopoulos and it threw Adelaide into disarray.

Kusini Yengi tried hard to play in an unfamiliar role on the right wing but, truth be told, struggled.

It was a head-scratcher as to why he was left to flounder there, whilst Mo Toure led the line with Juric.

It seemed logical that Mo Toure should switch to the wing role and leave Yengi and Juric to play up front. But it never happened.

Castro then drifted wide, capitalising on the fact that Yengi was clearly struggling in the role and Yared Abetew was on a booking, and the rest is now history.

United’s coaching staff needs to put their hand up and say they got it drastically wrong.

Subbing D’Arrigo at half time was baffling, especially since he wasn’t injured. He is pivotal in the Adelaide machine.

Playing Yengi at right wing was a mistake, further enhanced by the fact that the error wasn’t identified and adjustments made.

At a time when Perth had put their foot down, it seemed more appropriate to bring on defensive reinforcements and Michael Marrone seemed the logical change.

Instead, Adelaide played the last 20 or so minutes in what was essentially a 4-2-4 formation – and it was ugly.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the need to play well against more challenging opposition.

The addition of Craig Goodwin is a huge bonus for the Reds, with the winger being a goal and assist machine at A-League level.

His signing is a massive boost for the club and fans alike.

But Goodwin is just one person and Adelaide’s squad needs to find consistency quickly, especially if it wants to compete in finals.

Macarthur FC awaits the Reds this Friday night, and another loss could well see United struggling to make up ground on the other teams.

Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is InDaily’s soccer columnist.

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