Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite says the Reds aren’t “playing in a child-care clinic” and need to embrace the pressure ahead of Saturday’s finals-like clash away to Wellington Phoenix.
Fourth-placed Wellington and third-placed United are level on 33 points with eight rounds to play until the finals.
The Reds have only managed one win in their past four matches and missed the chance to move into top spot.
“At the end of the day we’re professionals – we’re not playing in a child-care clinic,” Djite said ahead of the Lower Hutt match.
“We’re playing in front of demanding fans, we’re playing in front of hostile away fans, we’re playing in front of big crowds with a lot at stake and high expectations.
“In any profession, you can’t reach the top or be elite without putting pressure on yourself.
“Any external pressure is coming at a lesser grade than what you’re already putting on yourself. We put pressure on ourselves to achieve going forward.”
“So it is like a final. You can sugarcoat it, but it’s not a reflection of the reality of the situation.
“It’s important that we get three points and start winning games consistently.”
On the injury front, Osama Malik saw a doctor regarding his ankle injury on Tuesday, while fellow defender Nigel Boogaard (knee) looks set for a race against time.
Full-back Tarek Elrich admitted the injury problems had made life difficult at the back, but praised Dylan McGowan for his efforts as cover.
Elrich curiously had a different stance to teammate Djite on where the pressure lay for Saturday’s fixture.
“The pressure is on them, because they are in a good way and they’ve been playing well,” Elrich said.
“The last time we played them, they beat us. Wellington is quality. On paper they’ve got a quality team.”
Meanwhile, the kick-off for the game has been brought forward two hours to 5pm local time (3pm AEDT).
The decision was taken after lighting standards at the temporary venue, a replacement for Westpac Stadium which was unavailable due to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, did not meet the stipulated standards agreed with FFA.comments