Reds defender braces for return to Wanderland

Iacopo La Rocca says despite facing his former side for the first time on Saturday he’s solely focused on ensuring Adelaide secure the valuable three points on offer.

After spending three successful years with Western Sydney, through which he helped Tony Popovic’s men become Hyundai A-League Premiers in season 2012/13 and also AFC Champions League Winners in 2014, Saturday’s match between the Reds and Wanderers will be the first time Iacopo La Rocca faces his former club. 

And whilst the Italian defender concedes the tie will create more of an emotional spectacle for himself pre-match, La Rocca has firmly stated that upon the game’s first whistle it’ll be business as usual. 

“For me, it’s a different type of game (compared to my teammates),” La Rocca said. “I played for three seasons with the Wanderers, but now I play for Adelaide United.

“It will be an emotional game, but when the referee blows the whistle, I will be giving everything to win the game for our team. 

“I’ll only been focussing on the game and playing well, maybe after the game I will speak with some of my friends in the opposition, but only then.” 

As it stands, the Wanderers are equal league-leaders with Brisbane Roar, the Reds relinquishing the spot at the competition’s summit following their 1-0 loss to Melbourne City last week. 

It was the Reds’ first loss in 14 matches, an unbeaten run that launched La Rocca and his teammates to the top of the league after being winless in the opening eight matches. 

And despite United’s undefeated streak coming to an end, La Rocca believes the confidence throughout the Adelaide squad is still high, so much so that despite notable absences of Tarek Elrich, Pablo Sanchez, and Jordan Elsey, the Reds’ No. 3 is adamant his side can claim the three points. 

“I’m feeling good and I have confidence, even after our loss against Melbourne City,” he continued. “We want to be back on track and we want to get the three points (this week). 

“If we play the way we know how to play, we can get the result against Western Sydney on Saturday. 

“We can beat the Wanderers, but we know it will be a tough game. They might be a strong team, but they have weaknesses and there is enough confidence within our team for us to get the three points. 

“If we want to do well for the rest of the season and finish first, we must get the three points. Otherwise the gap will be too difficult to catch up with so few games left.” 

Adelaide United will face Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 24 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Saturday, 19 March at Pirtek Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT.

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