Spanish invasion: Adelaide United talent with managers Jon-Michail and Manuel Seisdedos of FIA Sports Management.
He might have missed the first five weeks of pre-season, but new coach Josep Gombau has hit the ground running as he aims to bring the beautiful game to Adelaide United.
The Spaniard’s pedigree – he’s held multiple positions with Barcelona’s youth teams – means he’ll imprint on the Reds the kind of style Ange Postecoglou has brought to the A-League with Brisbane Roar and now Melbourne Victory.
Just over a week out from the season, the Reds say it will take a while to master, but they’re buying into the new boss’ methods.
“Josep is very passionate about what we’re doing…”
“It’s not something that is very common in Aussie football,” Reds defender Jon McKain told foxsports.com.au.
“I’ve been around for a while and I haven’t seen much of it.
“As a player you want to play a certain way, and this style – ball on the ground, short passing, very aggressive – is it.
“Fans want to see that and we want to play like that.
See how your team fared after the A-League draw for season nine was released.
“We’ve all bought into it in pre-season now; it’s about carrying it into the season. Josep is very passionate about what we’re doing.”
Gombau hasn’t arrived alone, bringing assistant Pau Marti to partner Michael Valkanis as well as Spanish signings Isaias Sanchez and winger Sergio Cirio, as he looks to turn around the disappointment of last season.
The Reds had a flying start to 2012-2013, leading the A-League for several weeks, but were bundled out of the finals in the first week at the hands of the Roar.
Midfielder Sanchez has played in the top flight of Spanish football, while Cirio scored 22 goals in the second division last season. Their arrivals – along with Socceroo Michael Zullo- have added to the excitement for the Reds.
“I like Josep Gombau’s ethos, his ideology of football….”
Zullo says it’s been a difficult pre-season and urged patience from fans as the players adjust.
“It’s been challenging getting used to the new style but I’m getting there,” Zullo said.
“There are still a lot of adjustments I need to make to my game.
“But the style itself suits me as a player. I like his ethos, his ideology of football. Keeping the ball as long as possible, keep patient. It takes time to change style, hopefully we will get better and better.
“Adelaide have made it clear it’s a long term thing.”
Left-back Cassio has seen a number of coaches come and go at Hindmarsh Stadium and says the Spaniard has been a breath of fresh air.
“Expectations are very high this year with the new coach and new players,” Reds veteran Cassio told foxsports.com.au.
“They bring a lot of skills and offer a lot to the team. The Spanish guys are clever and great on the ball. They’ll help us a lot.”
The Brazil-born defender, who will mark his seventh season at the club in 2013-2014, endorses Gomabau’s refreshing approach, but scoffed at comparisons to the manager’s former employers, Barcelona
“Nah we can’t say we’re similar to them. Barcelona is Barcelona,” Cassio said.
“The coach is bringing a new philosophy. We have to do what he wants. A lot of teams in Australia play good football, like Brisbane and Melbourne. We have a bit to go before we get to them.”
The Reds kick off their season at home against Perth Glory on October 13.