Heidelberg coach George Katsakis has piled the pressure on Adelaide United ahead of tonight’s FFA Cup quarter final clash, saying the A-League club will have no excuses if they don’t get the win.
For the second time in three years Heidelberg play a blockbuster home clash against A-League opposition for a spot in the FFA Cup semi-final.
In 2016, a record crowd of over 10,000 packed out Olympic village to catch a glimpse of Greek International George Kastsouranis, whose guest appearance for the Warriors couldn’t stop Melbourne City winning 5-0.
But after beating Perth Glory on the road to the quarter finals in this Cup campaign, Katsakis expects Heidelberg to be much more of a threat in tonight’s contest.
“The proposition against Adelaide is totally different now,” he said. “No doubt it gives us a lot of confidence in that we’ve previously beaten an A League team knowing that at least we can go in and match it for most of the game.”
“When there’s two teams on the park there’s a 50/50 chance. Having beaten Perth I’d say every result is possible.
“The mindset, obviously the condition of the players on the night is all going to contribute. But for me to sit here and say I wasn’t confident, I’d be lying based on what we’ve achieved this year.
“Having won the Dockerty Cup final, having won the minor premiership and then playing in the grand final there is no reason why we can’t go out and be super competitive.
Heidelberg head into tonight’s game having to back up from Sunday’s Victorian NPL grand final loss against Bentleigh Greens.
Then, just a few days later, the Bergers play the first round of the Australian NPL play-offs against Western Australian team Bayswater, and Katsakis isn’t hiding the fact that the schedule will be be punishing on his players.
“In terms of being tired and over worked, the workload is absolutely phenomenal,” he said.
“Semi-professionals are not conditioned to be playing so many games so it’s going to be very, very tough.
“But for the A League who are paid some big dollars this is part of their conditioning – they should be cherry ripe right now, they’re only four weeks until their season. They should be ready to go. There should be no excuses for Adelaide.”
With 21 goals, Bergers striker Kenny Athiu is the Victorian NPL's leading marksman and was also the goal scoring hero against Glory, and he is hoping to inspire his team to another win over an A-League side tonight.
“That Perth scalp was massive, so there’s no reason why we can’t do it again,” he said.
“It’s 90 minutes of football – either you win or lose. There’s no second chances in this FFA Cup. The boys are coming into it and we’re just going to give it our all. We’re obviously coming into it confidently but anything can happen.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re the best or worst team in the A League. They could be off their game and we could have our best game ever.
“The confidence of the boys is quite high at the moment. 'Why not?' is what we’re all saying.”