Adelaide all about style

By Tomasz Ng

Having seen as many as five coaches take the hot seat at Hindmarsh in the last five years, it’s fair to say that when Adelaide United appointed Josep Gombau, the vision was for the new man to provide some stability at the club.

Gombau grew up in Catalonia, and held a position as a youth coach among FC Barcelona’s ranks. His philosophy and style stems from his coaching education there and it is something that he is keen to bring down to Adelaide.

Speaking at the A-League launch in Melbourne, Gombau was adamant that implementing his style of play at the club would be the main objective of the season, and would continue to be win, lose or draw.

“Everybody wants to make the finals, everybody wants to be successful. But we’re creating a new style and we’re making the first steps, [making sure the] solid base is good, make sure that in the next seasons we will be successful,” Gombau said.

“Of course we will fight for the best but the most important for me is to create this style this season”.

“Adelaide United has his own style to play football, more than win or lose one game and this is a style of mine and we play to this style when we are winning, when we are losing, at home or when we play away, this is what we want to try to do.”

Before arriving in Adelaide, Gombau had spent four seasons coaching Kitchee SC in the Hong Kong First Division, winning the league twice and developed an attractive style of play.

Having now been in the country since July, he feels settled in his new surroundings, especially in the city of Adelaide.

“The country is very nice, Adelaide is a very good city, it’s quiet, I have family, I have kids, we are so satisfied to stay here. Everything is good, the food, all perfect,” he said.

As for the differences between the players he’s had to work with at Kitchee and at Adelaide United, unsurprisingly Gombau feels the players in Australia are superior.

“What I’ve found is that a player, his fitness is very good. They are athletic and also his skill levels are high. What we need to improve is a little bit tactically, not a lot, because they understand very well when you say what you want,” he said.

“They catch on faster than they (Hong Kong players) do and the part that we need to improve on is the decisions, when you need to make the decisions, and this is training. Training, watching games, starting games, and the players are starting to take these decisions in games when they are playing.”

Part of the process for changing their style of play involves the players embracing the new ideas, and Gombau is pleased with how the process is coming along.

“The players think faster. I think that everybody is concentrating and everybody wants to do this change and the people are working hard and if you see, playing Adelaide, you will see a different style but of course to arrive in a good level we need to work more time. This is just we need time,” he said.

One blow Adelaide have suffered in pre-season has been the loss of Dario Vidosic to FC Sion, a player who Gombau is disappointed to see leave, but was upbeat about others stepping in to fill the void.

“Last season he was one of the top scorers in Adelaide. He’s a player that plays regularly with Socceroos, he’s a player that is now in Europe and is doing well. He’s a high level player,” he said.

“But of course if one player have an offer from Europe and he want to leave, we have to allow him to leave, because the World Cup is here and he has chance to go to the World Cup and the club decided to let him leave. And we bring some players, we bring Lustica, Zullo, I am satisfied with the squad that I have now.”

Still Adelaide have got the services of Eugene Galekovic, and with his experience and leadership, Gombau sees him as a vital part of the team.

“[He’s] a lot important – it’s a world cup time, he’s a very good goalkeeper, he’s a person that the other teammates follow him, it’s a lot important,” he said.

Adelaide host Perth at Coopers Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and Galekovic and co. will be looking to get Gombau off to the best start possible.