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Apr 17, 2013

Adelaide urged to stay calm against Roar

Adelaide United coach Michael Valkanis has implored his defenders not to get sucked in by Brisbane antagonist Besart Berisha in Sunday's elimination final.

Valkanis rates the Roar striker as "one of the best boxers in the A-League".

"He has had more fights than Mike Tyson," Valkanis said on Saturday of the Brisbane frontman.

But Valkanis urged calm in his defenders, particularly Nigel Boogard and Iain Fyfe who were embroiled in an unseemly controversy with Berisha during their Boxing Day clash.

After that match, Boogard alleged Berisha spat at him, with Fyfe saying he saw the incident. But an investigation cleared the Brisbane attacker of wrongdoing.

"They have just got to concentrate on their defensive job and not on Berisha," Valkanis said of Boogard and Fyfe.

"Berisha does antagonise quite a bit. He's the one that tries to spark up for defenders to lose their concentration.

"I think they have just got to focus on the ball and their positioning as defenders, not on Berisha."

The Hindmarsh Stadium eliminator pits two clubs that changed coaches mid-season, with Rado Vidosic walking from Brisbane last December and John Kosmina quitting Adelaide in January.

The reigning champion Roar boast impressive recent form under Mike Mulvey while United have struggled with three wins from 11 matches entering the finals.

But past form was irrelevant to Valkanis, who said the final would be decided by "inches and seconds."

"It's a one-off game. It's human nature to give everything you have got," he said.

"We have got to live in the now. People keep talking about records and stats, they mean nothing in a finals game, absolutely nothing."

The winner will travel to meet table toppers Western Sydney Wanderers in a semi-final on Friday.

Central Coast host Melbourne Victory in the other semi-final next Sunday after the Victory came from behind to down Perth Glory 2-1 in extra-time on Friday night.

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