Football 2 years ago

Adelaide coach faces tough A-League debut

  • Adelaide coach faces tough A-League debut

There's no questioning his playing record, but Guillermo Amor faces a stern test of his capabilities as a coach when Adelaide United faces A-League champions Melbourne Victory in their season opener on Friday night at Adelaide Oval.

The Barcelona legend, who took over from Josep Gombau in sudden and still mysterious circumstances back in July, could not ask for a tougher first-up A-League assignment than Victory, the competition pacesetters.

Much intrigue surrounds whether the five-time La Liga winner, who has no previous senior coaching experience, can continue the pioneering work of his compatriot Gombau in developing a Spanish-infused style of play and fully realise the team's ambitions.

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The elements are there for Adelaide, particularly following the recruitment of proven A-League talent in the off-season, but there remains a sense of trepidation that won't subside until Amor himself posts wins on the board.

Amor has kept his cards close to his chest so far - perhaps characteristic of the 47-year-old, who is quiet and softly spoken, in stark contrast to the animated and brash Gombau.

"It's a difficult game. They're the champions," Amor told reporters on Thursday, with the aid of Sergio Cirio as translator.

"They're a strong team with good players and a strong mentality in general.

"But, football is football. Tomorrow is a game and it's possible to win."

His counterpart, Kevin Muscat, is expecting much the same from the Reds this season under Amor.

"From what we've seen so far ... it doesn't seem to be too much of a change in their style of play," the Victory coach said.

"There's one or two things that they've obviously been working on that we've picked up on in terms of their patterns and the way that they go about things. But all in all you'd expect them to be very similar."

Fears have also been allayed about the pitch at Adelaide Oval, which came under fire during Victory's visit last year for being too hard.

"I've been guaranteed by a number of bodies that the surface is going to be very good. So I'll take them on their word," Muscat said.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Adelaide United are winless in their last six A-League meetings with Melbourne Victory (D3 L3).

* United are, however, unbeaten in their last seven A-League games against Victory at home (W4 D3).

* Melbourne Victory scored the most (56) and conceded the fewest (31) goals in the 2014-15 regular A-League season.

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