Cassio has expressed his sympathy to the United faithful after last Saturday’s uncharacteristic home display but at the same time has reiterated all is not lost heading into the decisive final month of the regular season.
Both Coach Michael Valkanis and captain Eugene Galekovic publicly stated the Reds failed to turn up as they went down to Brisbane Roar on Saturday. Cassio agrees, and while he firmly believes United supporters have every right to feel disappointed and let down by the team’s performance, he says the best thing the squad to can do to make up for it is to make sure they respond in the best way possible.
“Last Saturday wasn’t a great game, we know that. We didn’t stick to the game plan…it’s happened and we have to keep positive and try to get through it,” Cassio said.
“I know the fans are not happy with the way we played and they shouldn’t be. They pay for their ticket to come and see a good performance and we didn’t do that and they deserve a lot better than that.”
From the day Cassio first ran out in a Reds shirt, his passion for the contest but more notably winning has been clearly evident. For many South Americans, football is their life and it is easy to see where Cassio’s extremely competitive edge comes from.
The 32 year old is not used to not tasting success, having won three Carioca (Rio) Championships with Flamengo and a Gaúcho Championship with Internacional earlier in his career. This is why his desire to win is so strong and how he can relate to United fans who are still craving a first championship.
“When we lose it’s never good. Players are not happy, fans are not happy,” Cassio said.
“I hate to lose, that’s the way I am. I went through my whole career winning championships for the clubs that I played for and so when we lose games like we did on the weekend I feel very frustrated.”
“I feel sorry for the fans because they come here to watch a good performance, especially playing at home, they expect a lot more from us and they see this kind of reaction from the players. That’s not good but we have to keep going and stick with the plan because we’re still in a good position.”
“If we play a good game in Melbourne and pick up points, we can get some confidence and think about possibly playing finals.”
Despite having claimed Adelaide United’s Club Champion Award twice and a host of individual honours during his time in Adelaide, Cassio remains unfulfilled and conveys a restlessness for the one thing that he dearly wants to add to his CV – a Hyundai A-League championship.
Cassio has been around long enough to know opportunities to win silverware do not come around every day and after coming close in 2008/09, the left back is still holding high hope that a championship is within reach this season.
“I’m very desperate. I’ve won some individual awards here but I would change any of that for one championship here,” Cassio said.
“This season we’re close to getting there and we can’t throw everything away now, that’s why I sometimes get frustrated because we’re very close to getting there.”
A win over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Monday night would certainly go a way to rekindling the supporters’ belief that it is still achievable. Hopefully Cassio’s optimism leads to a strong Reds response after the events of last weekend.