Adelaide boss Verbeek is a perfectionist, says star pupil Maria
Michaël Maria says his long-standing connection with Adelaide United boss and "perfectionist" Gertjan Verbeek is helping him flourish in the Hyundai A-League.
Verbeek deployed Maria in a left-back role against Central Coast Mariners and the 24-year-old was one of the key weapons in a comprehensive 3-1 win, playing crucial roles in Adelaide’s second and third goals.
But if Maria was one of the Reds’ standout performers on an occasion where the club posted three consecutive league wins for the first time since 2015/16, his coach did not show his fondness.
Verbeek, who coached Maria at German outfit VfL Bochum and Dutch side FC Twente, was visibly irate with the Curaçao international and his incessant barking of instructions could be heard consistently throughout the broadcast.
But Maria is unfazed by his manager’s tough love approach. In fact, he relishes it.
“That’s okay, I’m used to it,” Maria explained to FOX Sports after the game.
“He’s always talking to me. He’s also a perfectionist, just like I am, so I understand him, and I just try to pick up everything he’s telling me and try to perform as best as I can.
“More than that I cannot do.”
Maria cited Verbeek as a huge factor in his decision to join Adelaide on a two-year contract in the off-season.
“When I heard from Gertjan, he didn’t have to say much at all to convince me because I’ve missed him as my coach and I trust him as a person and his football plan,” Maria said in July.
“I’ve worked with Gertjan twice before, first at Bochum and then when I was at FC Twente, and I’ve wanted to be his player again.
“He’s taught me to be a positive, courageous, and attacking player that loves to have the ball and that’s how I enjoy the game the most.
“I’m very happy that he and the club wanted me to help improve the squad.”
Maria arrived in Australia battling injury but has featured in every game of the season so far and has played a crucial role in Adelaide’s current three-game win streak.
In that time Verbeek has deployed Maria in both central midfield and on the left side of defence, but Maria says he’s happy to play wherever he’s needed in a Reds side playing and exciting style which is producing results.
“I’m happy with the play style we have right now,” Maria said.
“I’m happy that it’s nice to watch, but it’s also satisfying being part of the team playing like this in an attacking way, not defending the whole time.
“We want to be the ones setting the pace and deciding what happens on the pitch.
“I’m adapting quite well... I’m giving my best in every position the coach wants me to play.
“Where the team needs me, I’ll be.”