Cassio back and relishing Reds pressure

EXCLUSIVE: Adelaide United defender Cassio admits he was relieved to finally get back on the field on the weekend, comparing the feeling to when he made his debut as a professional footballer for Flamengo.

The Brazilian-born left-back has been out of action for months with a quad tendon injury suffered in pre-season.

Cassio made his return to the senior team on Saturday, playing the last 30 minutes in United’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle Jets.

But the 33-year-old was just happy to be back out there.

“I felt great,” Cassio said. “For me it was like playing my first game as a professional.

“I felt so happy to be back and especially playing at Hindmarsh (Coopers) in front of our crowd. It was special.

“The last four months for me haven’t been easy but I’ve been training hard and now I’m just ready to go.

“If the coach wants to play me this weekend I’ll be ready and do my best for the club to win the game.”

United have had a difficult start to the season under new manager Josep Gombau, picking up just one victory in their opening five games.

Cassio is well aware of the pressure surrounding the club at the moment but has only one feeling towards all of it.

“We’re not doing well and we’re sitting eighth, eight points from the top and that’s pressure but I like that,” Cassio said. “It’s welcome.

“It’s only the fifth round and there’s still 22 games to go and we have a lot of games to play and a lot of things to improve, but of course at the end of the day it’s all about wins and results.

“It’s a professional environment, if you don’t win people start asking questions about your job and that’s what we’re here for.

“We’re working hard to get on the park and win games.”

It does not get any easier for Adelaide though, with their next three games away from home starting this weekend against Perth Glory in Western Australia.

“Of course it’s better to play at home, especially in the situation we are in now,” said the defender. “But we can’t choose where to play.

“They’re all hard games, in this league there is no easy games.

“You see Newcastle, they came here and beat us at home so as you can see it’s a tough call for us three games away, but it’s a pressure the players have to take.

“We carry a lot of people behind us, a lot of supporters and fans waiting for good performances and wins so we are ready for a good week at training and to win this game.”