Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has declared his A-League side ready to win their elimination final against Adelaide United on Sunday, but his opposite number believes they have the experience to advance.
With Jamie Maclaren back at “100 per cent” fitness after a toe injury and Rostyn Griffiths pushing to be available ahead of schedule following a hamstring strain, City believe they are about to hit full stride.
Several of their players were rested for a last-up 5-0 belting of Central Coast and will come back into the reckoning against the Reds.
Joyce showed the club’s confidence on Friday, speaking ahead of their trip to South Australia.
“The players are pretty confident that whoever they play, if we’re at our maximum, we can beat anybody,” Joyce said.
Reds coach Marco Kurz is attempting to end his own personal hoodoo against City. The German has faced City six times in his two years in Adelaide but is yet to savour a win.
In three matches this season City beat the Reds at Coopers Stadium 2-0 and the two teams couldn’t be separated in two clashes at AAMI Park.
Kurz however believes his team’s successful FFA cup run at the start of the season gives them an edge.
“We won the cup. That means we now have the experience to be champion,” Kurz said.
That’s very important and can be helpful for the finals because we had the experience to play knockout games under pressure, also in front of our fantastic fans against Sydney in the final.”
Marquee defender Ritchie De Laet admitted as much this week when he said the playing group felt they’d let the club down.
“We feel we are better than fifth. Obviously the table doesn’t lie, but with the quality we have … we definitely should have done better,” he said.
Regardless of the result, Sunday’s match will be Kurz’s last at Coopers Stadium with United’s board calling time on his tenure in Adelaide prior to the end of the season.
“I’m very happy we have the chance to play the elimination game in front of our fantastic fans,” Kurz said.
“We will deliver again … then after, maybe a little bit of emotion because I had a fantastic time here in Hindmarsh.”
ELIMINATION FINAL – Sunday 7pm (AEST), Adelaide
Fourth-placed finishers – 12 wins, 8 draws, 7 losses, +5 goal difference
Fifth-placed finishers – 11 wins, 7 draws, 9 losses, +7 goal difference