‘It was a warning we needed’: Kurz admits Reds must improve ahead of the finals
Marco Kurz says it's "special" to have locked-in a home final for Adelaide United but knows it will not make too much difference if his side repeat their first-half showing from Thursday’s win over Brisbane Roar.
The Reds won 5-3 in an end-to-end encounter at Suncorp Stadium to secure fourth position and a home Elimination Final next weekend against either Wellington Phoenix or Melbourne City.
Needing a win to ensure a top-four finish, Adelaide were sluggish – especially in defence – in the opening 45 minutes and went to the break trailing 2-1.
Their class eventually came through as second-half goals from George Blackwood, Craig Goodwin, Baba Diawara and Isaias helped stretch their unbeaten run to five games.
While relieved to have got the result they needed on ANZAC Day, Kurz is treating the match as a timely wake-up call for his side.
"It was one of my louder half-time meetings with the boys," Kurz said.
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"They [the players] woke up, not 100%, but 95%. That was enough today.
"It was a good warning that we need always 100% performance. We are not a team that can create simple chances or can score goals, we are a team that must always work hard to get the result."
Kurz took a few positives from his side’s display, including their sharpness in front of goal and the return from injury of key players like defender Jordan Elsey (fractured foot) and striker Diawara, who scored his first goal in a year after recovering from a lengthy knee problem.
"It's good to have the boys back because then we have a big challenge in training, that means we have higher quality and I can make good but hard decisions for the finals," Kurz said.
We know [Diawara] is well prepared for the squad and that’s good. You can see he can make the difference in the box, he’s a finisher. It’s good to have him back.”
Rebuild begins for Brisbane
While Adelaide move on to finals football, Brisbane can begin their post-mortem on a campaign that saw them register just four wins and concede a Hyundai A-League record 71 goals.
New coach Robbie Fowler has a big task to rebuild Roar’s fortunes but interim boss Darren Davies – who will stay at the club as an assistant – is excited about the future.
“We’ve got a plan to move forward now,” Davies said.
"The new manager's in now and we can really sit down, plan our way forward and then fully support the new manager in getting us back to where we want to be next season.”