Plenty to work on for Adelaide, Phoenix

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    First-time coaches Marco Kurz and Darjie Kalezic don’t have a lot of time to come to grips with their new gigs in the ultra-competitive A-League.

    The Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix counterparts both said they were “happy, but…” in the wake of the 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

    Both goals came inside the opening 10 minutes before the game became a stalemate, with the teams lacking the killer touch inside their opponents’ goal boxes.

    Adelaide’s George Blackwood had the best chance to win it for the visitors, but his header from just a few yards out was pushed away by the knee of debutant Phoenix stopper Keegan Smith.

    Indeed, Smith and United goalkeeper Paul Izzo had relatively quiet games and would have struggled to stay warm on a frigid Wellington evening.

    Kurz’s side travel to Brisbane next Friday night and Wellington play Sydney FC on Sunday.

    “We have enough players to improve a lot,” Kurz said.

    When asked of the pressure to improve after Adelaide’s dismal ninth place last year, he said the pressure is “from within”.

    “I feel pressure in myself and for the team, we have a high focus for this club.”

    He said it was a shame Phoenix legend Vince Lia – now at Adelaide – was suspended for the fixture, as his experience was valuable and he had a strong desire to play at Westpac Stadium again.

    The first task for Kurz this week will be to check the status of defender Taylor Regan, who went off in the second half with a leg injury and needed an X-ray at Wellington Hospital.

    © AAP 2017