Adelaide United refuse to let the loss of coach Josep Gombau get in the way of a maiden FFA Cup win over Wellington Phoenix, according to midfielder Cameron Watson.
The Reds face Phoenix in the Cup on Tuesday night at Adelaide’s Marden Sports Complex without Gombau, who is in camp with the A-League All-Stars.
But Watson believes the loss of the Catalan coach won’t be an issue for Adelaide, who are playing away from their home ground of Coopers Stadium.
“It’s always different when the gaffer isn’t there but he has left the game with Micky Valkanis, Pau (Marti) and Peter Blaz, who are all on the same wavelength,” Watson said.
The defensive midfielder will miss the Wellington clash with a fractured toe, but is expecting a decent hit-out from the Reds against a Kiwi side which has been busy in the off-season.
Wellington coach, Ernie Merrick, has signed Nathan Burns, Alejandro Gorrin Rodriguez, Roly Bonevacia and Tom Doyle, while Carlos Hernandez and Stein Huysegems have departed.
“The Phoenix are always tough home or away,” Watson said.
“They have added a couple of good players also which will strengthen them this year.
"They are strong no matter who they put out and with the new additions of Burns and others we can expect a good game.
“Being pre-season also will make it interesting as not everyone is 100 per cent fit.”
Last week Adelaide United defeated the Adelaide Comets 4-1 in a pre-season friendly. The Reds have also downed Perth Glory 1-0 and the Metro Stars 3-0, but were handed a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of La Liga side Malaga.
Meanwhile Phoenix have ramped up their pre-season, stunning Premier League side West Ham 2-1 and being edged 1-0 by Newcastle United.
Watson said the Reds want to bring last season's possession-based, attacking brand of football to their new campaign, starting with Wellington.
“Everyone has been working hard to get back to where we left off as well as taking it to another level,” Watson said.
“A lot of teams know how we want to play so we have to adapt. We always want to be entertaining, I guess, but it doesn’t always pan out that way.
“At the moment it’s just about clicking with one another again and these games are perfect for that.”
Watson was also upbeat about taking the clash on the road, adding: “I think it’s important to play at local venues to reach out to our supporters and spread our game.