Reds: We're back in the race for finals football

Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor had no interest in entering into a discussion about striker Bruce Djite’s well-publicised goal drought following Saturday’s comprehensive 3-0 Boxing Day thumping of Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium.

Following Manny Muscat’s own goal shortly before half-time, Craig Goodwin pocketed his second goal of the season in the 73rd minute and Michael Marrone the first of his 131-game A-League career in the 75th minute to complete the rout.

Gallery: Match action

Meanwhile, Djite has now gone 18 matches - more than 10 months - since his last A-League score.

With recruit Eli Babalj having missed all but two matches this season with a foot injury and Pablo Sanchez favoured as an impact player off the bench, the Reds need more out of Djite.

But that debate is for another time.

“Today is not the day to speak of these things,” Amor said.

“Today is positive - the game, the result, Wellington, the points.

“I am confident in these players at this moment, with Pablo, Bruce, (Sergio) Cirio - for me the group is good.

“We are more than very happy with the result. It’s a good day for us.”

United enjoyed some slices of luck, noticeably Muscat’s own goal, Albert Riera’s two yellow cards and 56th-minute exit which reduced the Phoenix to 10 men and Wellington keeper Glen Moss making a meal of Goodwin’s strike.

But there were many times earlier, through the first half and the initial stages of the second half when the Reds looked vulnerable in defence, with Roy Krishna and Jeff Sarpong finding ways to pierce through.

Amor acknowledge the left side looked unbalanced defensively but it worked in Adelaide’s favour on the counter.

“There was obviously a problem at the back,” he said.

“Tarek (Elrich) needed to be very attentive in defending. At the same time that gave us a bit of an option when attacking - it was a bit more difficult for them to stop Cirio in attack.”

Wallowing at the foot of the A-League table a month ago, the Reds are now back in the finals hunt, with three wins and a draw from their past four matches leaving them just two points shy of sixth-placed Wellington.

But United aren’t yet out of the woods.

A tough task looms on New Year’s Day against ladder-leading Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium.

“In soccer you must always think in the next day, next training, next game - this is the life in football,” he said.

“This (win) is good for the group and there’s more confidence.

“The attitude in the team has always been positive.

“I was confident in the team that we had, even during the difficult moments.”