The 1st leg of the AFC Champions League Quarter Finals is inching closer by the day and Reds Coach John Kosmina is upbeat about where his squad is placed in its run towards September 19.
Since the opening day of pre season on July 9, the Reds have been quietly going about their business under the guidance of High Performance Manager Sean Tagg, whose mission is to have the players in peak condition for another momentous game in the club’s ACL history.
Kosmina is already noticing the benefits of what Tagg is implementing, and although there is still a way to go, particularly in the amount of pure football training, the solid foundation has been laid.
“I’m really happy with the way things have progressed,” Kosmina said.
“We talked about it towards the end of last season that we wanted to have a tough pre season – that would make men of boys so to speak without over exaggerating it, and it has been tough, it has been hard.”
“They’ve done a lot of varied things, spent a lot of time in the gym. Football is probably down a little bit in terms of time we’ve spent on it, but we’ve got a lot of football coming up now so I think they’re in good nick.”
“I think we’re certainly going to start the season a lot healthier as a group, and by health I mean condition, probably physically and mentally and hopefully spiritually as well.”
The emphasis will certainly turn to football with trial matches scheduled against Melbourne Heart, Victory, Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners before the clash with Bunyodkor, and Kosmina is confident it will be ample preparation to face the Uzbeks.
With the ACL Quarter Finals on the horizon, it could be easy to sidetrack the domestic season to follow, but one can be assured that Kosmina has an improvement in United’s ninth position in the Hyundai A-League last year in the back of his mind.
Nonetheless, even with a rejuvenated and talented player roster that has recently been bolstered by the acquisitions of Argentinean duo Marcelo Carrusca and Jeronimo Morales Neumann, don’t expect Kosmina to be making any bold predictions of where the Reds may finish.
“The thing is the league goes up a notch every season…our aim is to make the finals and if you make the finals you can build from there,” Kosmina said.