Josep Gombau has launched a pre-emptive strike ahead of a potential psychological war with Graham Arnold, claiming Adelaide United have the advantage over Sydney FC going into the A-League semi-finals.
The Reds haven't lost to the Sky Blues in their last seven meetings across all competitions, but surprisingly that record isn't the reason Gombau chose to talk up his team's chances.
The Spanish coach believes having to contest an elimination final at home to Brisbane Roar, a game the Reds won 2-1 on Friday night, will serve the South Australian side well when they meet Arnold's regular season runners-up, who won't have played for 13 days when they take to the field at Allianz Stadium next Saturday night.
"If I am honest, it is better to play," Gombau said when quizzed on the two teams' differing lead-in periods.
"Because you keep [up with] the speed of the game, this feeling.
"If you ask me, I think we have a little bit of [an] advantage in this.
"Because they stop and they don't play [a] game. We have eight days in front – that we can recover perfect.
"And we have competition one week before that they don't have. I prefer to play than to have this break."
As for that impressive sequence of results against the Harbour City side, recent history is indeed heavily stacked in Adelaide's favour.
They've bagged five wins, one of which came in extra-time in the FFA Cup, and two draws in their last seven meetings. Four of those victories have come away from home, at an aggregate score of 10-1.
Gombau though was quick to offer a reminder of the fact Brisbane had enjoyed a similar streak at the Reds' expense as visitors to South Australia, something that dominated the agenda in the lead-up to the game but was proven irrelevant as the Roar came unstuck at Adelaide Oval.
"This is numbers. Yesterday we were here and everybody said, 'the last three games, Brisbane'.
"Numbers. Every game is different. I think it will be an equal game. We will go over there with all the power that we have, try to win and be in the grand final."comments