'Play like Ajax, win the Championship': Verbeek sets ambitious target for Adelaide

There could be exciting times ahead for Adelaide United, with new coach Gertjen Verbeek promising his side will strive to emulate some of the world’s great sides as they go in pursuit of the Championship in 2019/20.

The 56-year-old Dutchman replaced Marco Kurz in the Adelaide hot seat in May and brings with him a wealth of experience with clubs in his home country, including AZ Alkmaar and former European champions Feyenoord.

But it is another of the Netherlands’ famous clubs which is likely to provide the blueprint for life at Coopers Stadium next season.

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“The trainer is as good as his players,” Verbeek said on Wednesday in his first press conference as Adelaide boss. “We’ll see what the quality of the players is.

“But I like to play offensive football and when you lose the ball [you] get it back as soon as possible – keep the ball, that’s the basic idea.

Maybe you have seen Ajax playing this year, or Barcelona? I don’t think we have the same quality [as those clubs], but the way they play football…

“I’m a follower since 1974 and Rinus Michels [the coach who took Holland to that year’s FIFA World Cup Final] and then Louis van Gaal, so I’ve had big names in front of me who have trained at the ‘Dutch football school’. Hopefully I can bring some ideas into this team.”

WATCH: Verbeek hopes Adelaide can better their trophy winning feats of 2018/19

Verbeek has already run the rule over his new side, taking in the last few games of the 2018/19 campaign, and he believes that with a bit of fine-tuning the Reds can repeat their Championship success of 2016.

“I saw last year that the team has a lot of quality,” he said. “They got fourth, won the [FFA] Cup, got to the finals and were a little bit unlucky against Perth.

“A lot of [those] players are still here, which is a big compliment for the club.

We’ll need some new players to fill in and then maybe we can go for the Championship.

“Everybody knows that we need some offensive players, in the midfield the captain has gone. Also a central defender, a right defender and also maybe a left defender.

“We only need five or six players. Some important players are gone, but what stays is the basis to go on.”

Isaias
One of the new coach's first jobs will be to replace departed club captain Isaias

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