Adelaide United coach John Kosmina says his players’ AFC Champions League exit spurred them on to victory against Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
Adelaide were dumped out of the illustrious Asian tournament on Wednesday after suffering a 3-2 extra-time loss to FC Bunyodkor in the second leg, which followed a 2-2 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium a fortnight earlier.
With littler time to regroup the Reds arrived in Sydney barely 24 hours before they kick-started their domestic campaign against Newcastle.
Jet lag and fatigue were not an issue for the side as they downed the Jets 2-0 following goals to attackers Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay.
Kosmina said the collective heartbreak and pain shared by the team following their shortcomings in the ACL were pivotal in overcoming an exhausting and arduous journey littered with a flurry of plane trips that first began in Adelaide last Sunday morning.
“Wednesday (loss to Bunyodkor and ACL exit) was a really emotional experience for everyone – there were guys crying … even thinking about it now, it chokes me up a bit,” Kosmina said.
“It was such an emotional outpouring losing the way that we did after having fought for so long.
“It actually bought the guys a lot closer together so I think there was a bit of momentum in that in itself to help us get through Sunday (win over Newcastle).
“The hardest thing now will be to pick them up for Friday night (against Western Sydney Wanderers).
“Mentally, I think they are stronger than they have been and physically they’re in fantastic condition, but we still have to make sure we keep them tuned up and buzzing for Friday.”
Vidosic, who has looked sharp since overcoming a hamstring niggle sustained during pre-season and already has a goal and assist to his name in the A-League, shared Kosmina’s view.
The 25-year-old said Adelaide’s failure to progress would assist in their preparation for a renewed 2012-13 domestic campaign after finishing a dismal ninth and missing out on finals action last season.
“The heartbreak of just missing out, going into extra-time all the way at Tashkent and being unfortunate at home to draw (in the first leg) … will help us preparation wise,” Vidosic said.
“We will learn from this and can now take it into the A-league and be better prepared.
“Friday night we should come out firing and be a better team as from the one against Newcastle.”
With a short turnaround once more to welcome the A-League’s fresh faces of the competition in Western Sydney Wanderers, Friday night’s first home fixture represents a tricky clash for Adelaide.
Kosmina said all A-League games were a potential ‘banana skin’ but warned of the Wanderers’ threat following their well-earned point in a 0-0 draw against triple grand finalists Central Coast Mariners last week.
“Western Sydney had only three months to put together a team and Popa (Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic) has done a great job,” Kosmina said.
“I know Tony personally and what he’s like as a coach and was a player, and he is a winner.
“He will want to win, so they will be pumped to come down here.”