Cameron Watson believes Adelaide United can quickly move on from the disappointing loss to Melbourne Victory on the weekend as the Reds prepare to face Wellington Phoenix and cement their place in the top six.
The defensive midfielder is enjoying his time under Josep Gombau after forcing his way back into the Adelaide starting XI over the past two months. Adelaide have endured an up and down season, only recording their second victory 10 games into the campaign.
But spirits are now high at Hindmarsh Stadium after a 10-game run, which has included six wins, three draws and just two losses, and catapulted them up from the bottom of the table. The Reds now sit in fifth spot with 27 points.
“It's been good,” Watson said. “We’re right in the mix at the moment. It’s pretty congested in there. At the start of the season it took a little bit to get going with the results, but I think over the course of the season we’ve been playing well.
“The gaffer’s brought in a lot of structure this year. Everyone knows their role, no matter if it’s someone starting or if they’re coming off the bench. It's been refreshing and exciting. It's great to just to see the hard work we did in pre-season is paying off now.”
Watson struggled for game time early in the season but has started six of the last seven matches in a row.
“It’s great being back in the side,” he said. “It’s been really enjoyable in the last four to six weeks. It took a little bit to get going… You’re always trying to improve from the week before. It just comes down to what we did early on is coming to fruition now.
“We stamped out the kind of mistakes we were making at the start, and that just comes from learning the type of football that Josep wanted us to play.
“Once you start winning games it gives you confidence as a whole. We’re a pretty close group as well, both on and off the field, and I think that works in our favour as well. I think Josep’s brought that to the club as well, trying to make it really family-orientated.”
A number of Adelaide’s players have been in fine form of late and scoring freely, with the Iberian pair of Cirio and Fabio Ferriera both scoring six goals, Argentines Jeronimo Neumann and Marcelo Carrusca notching six and four strikes respectively, with striker Bruce Djite also on four.
“It’s a pleasure to watch when those players get to do their stuff in front of you,” Watson said. “We try to stop the other team from scoring and try to get the ball up to them and let them do the job.
"They’ve been great this season. When they’ve been playing, they’ve been excellent. The front three, Marcelo included, they all get on the score sheet, they all get on the assist sheet as well so they all contribute highly.”
Despite leading twice in the match against Victory, Adelaide lost 4-3 in a dramatic match at AAMI Park. The 26-year old believes a draw might have been a fairer result, but the Reds must now focus on Phoenix when they play at Hindmarsh on Thursday.
“I think a draw would have been a fair result considering we played really well in the first half,” Watson said.
“Credit to Victory the way they’ve been playing. In the second half we slipped up a couple of times, just some unusual errors that you don’t usually see, and we paid for it because they’re such a high quality team. It’s just a matter of forgetting about it and moving on.
“It will be tough, Wellington are playing some really good football this season. They’re pushing for the finals as well and they’ll be wanting to come here and get the three points.
“We know the quality they’ve got, especially in that front third, and they’re very organised at the back as well. It’ll be good but we’re at home so we’ll be going for the three points and try and break away from that little pack of teams that seem to be building up.”
According to Watson, confidence is building in the Adelaide camp as the season arrives a critical point.
“The gaffer’s trying every day at training. It’s a bit of cliché saying take it one game at a time, but that’s what we’ve got to do,” he said. “We’ve got to treat each game like a final because you can’t really afford to lose points because it’s so congested in there. You could probably find yourself slipping out of the six if you drop a couple of games.
“He keeps us on our toes every week and there’s always positions up for grabs. It just brings out the best in the team on game day. We’re in a really good position at the moment and we want to stay in six and the top four as well, which is really important come finals time.”
Watson has admired Gombau’s impact on Adelaide and the structure he has brought to the club. The former Joey and Young Socceroo said the head coach has made football fun, fresh and enjoyable.
“When he came in at the start he said it’s not going to happen straight away, it will take time,” Watson said. “We might not get the results at the beginning of the season that we want but, it’s easy for us because we’re at training and we know what he’s trying to do.
"We can see ourselves doing good things but it’s hard for the fans and people on the outside to see that. I can understand as well not getting results at the start can be frustrating because you want to be a team winning.
"But he always keep implementing it, just keep doing what we’re doing it, it will come, eventually it will come to fruition and we’ll get the results.
“It was just him giving us his trust really and allowing each individual player to play freely and being able to make mistakes, because he was giving us a new system to play in and he knew people were going to make mistakes. So he didn’t really care about that.
“If it was going to happen, it was going to happen, as long as we were trying to do the right things. I think it's given that confidence to the team and to individuals, just made us better as a whole and individually. That’s how its been since he’s come in.
“And then once you start getting some results you feel better individually as well, you think you can just keep getting on a little roll of three or four games. You suddenly see that all the things we did do at the start have paid off and you just keep doing them as well because you know its working.
“You don’t want to do anything different, it’s the best thing to have playing football. The way we have been playing some games, it's fun, it's enjoyable. You’ve got the ball, you’re trying to keep the ball from the other team instead of chasing it around, and you’re the one who’s controlling the game.
“It’s been really fresh and all the boys have thoroughly enjoyed it.”comments