Reds a better away team

Shandong Luneng coach Branko Ivankovic says Adelaide United is a better team away from home ahead of the AFC Champions League Group H match day six clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Tuesday.

Shandong Luneng coach Branko Ivankovic says Adelaide United is a better team away from home ahead of the AFC Champions League Group H match day six clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Tuesday.

While the Croatian said he had watched all of United’s matches in the ACL he remained coy about the topic.

Instead, he turned the focus to derailing the Reds’ bid to secure a home final in the round of 16.

“I’ve watched all the games from the Adelaide team. This team is a competitive team and is maybe a team which can play much better away than at home,” he said.

“First of all we came here (Adelaide) to play a good game of football to show that we have a good team. Tomorrow they will be competitive because they want to finish top of the group but we will do our best to try and disturb an Adelaide wish to win tomorrow.”

United stand-in coach Joe Mullen denied the claims from the opposition coach, saying the Reds use whichever game plan is necessary to win.

Mullen believes that the Reds play to their strengths and more often than not the team will line up differently and execute a different style of play away from home.

“We try to play to our strengths both home and away,” he said.

“It will be a different team we play of course, and a different way that we play at home to when we play away.”

“I thought the way that we went when we went to Shandong to play was ideal for the players we had and the result (2-0 United win) justified that. But at home it can be different again and tomorrow night we’ll see how much different it can be.”

Mullen said that while the away victory in Shandong was impressive, he refused to claim it was the best 90 minutes of football the Reds had played.

Instead, he labelled the entire ACL campaign as a success for United and nothing short of what the Reds deserved.

“I think it’s been a good campaign, the whole campaign,” he said.

“I thought the one loss that we did have in Hiroshima (1-0), I think we possibly could have deserved a draw. It’s also fair to say, and football is like this, that against Pohang (0-0) we got out of jail. It was a game we probably got a little bit lucky in but that happens.”

“The playing group have been tremendous. Their character has been good, their will and want to train as a group is good, even the players that haven’t been playing regularly, and good and experienced players that haven’t been playing regularly, they’ve been so positive and it is a credit to all of them.”

“They’re getting what they deserve so far, I think.”

United will have to reshuffle it’s starting line upwith Daniel Mullen, Lucas Pantelis and Adam Hughes missing the match through suspension after picking up their second yellow cards of the competition.

Scott Jamieson arrived in Adelaide on Sunday after an unsuccessful trial with German second division club Greuther Furth, after European airport closures, because of the eruption of an Icelandic volcano, delayed his return home.

“He came back in to Adelaide yesterday (Sunday), so he’ll train with us tonight (Monday) in the last session and then we’ll assess from there how he is physically,” said Mullen.

“We’ll make up our mind after tonight’s session. He’s certainly a part of this squad and he’s done a good job so far. So we’ll just see how he feels tonight physically and then decide from there.”

The nimble left back may cause the United coaching staff selection headaches down the left if he is declared fit, with three players fighting for two positions.

Cassio is also in contention, pushing for consecutive starts after two blistering performances by the little Brazilian.

The pocket rocket can either play at full back or further up the field as he did against Pohang, but Matthew Leckie is also gunning for a return to the starting XI.

With Adam Griffiths and Paul Reid set to get their first starts in a dual holding midfield role, Cassio could be the unlucky one if Jamieson and Leckie get the nod.

Iain Fyfe returns to the centre of defence to parter Robbie Cornthwaite after serving his suspension with Nigel Boogaard returning to the bench after an impressive debut against Pohang on match day five.

Michael Marrone appears set to return to his more favoured position of right full back in the absence of Mullen.

The Reds also have five players who are one booking away from suspension with Jamieson, Boogard, Leckie, Cornthwaite and captain Travis Dodd all on one yellow card.

Dodd said United can’t afford to worry about suspension for the round of 16 match and reassured supporters if there is a tackle to be made, he won’t be pulling out.

“I don’t think you can let it come into your game,” he said.

“You just have to go out and play your normal game. At the end of the day if you need to make a tackle and it results in a card then you have to do it for the team. We’re all in this to finish to top of the table and we’ll do what it takes during the game and if it results in a card so be it.”