Eccentric Reds manager keeps everyone guessing
ADELAIDE United coach Josep Gombau's team is sitting comfortably in third place going into today's home clash against Western Sydney.
But that doesn't mean his prickly relationship with the Adelaide media has improved.
Gombau has had some famous exchanges with scribes in the South Australian capital, including an infamous stoush with a prominent Adelaide writer in mid-December last year, in the early stages of his time in charge of the Reds.
It came when the team was struggling to adapt to his possession-based philosophy, and losses were plentiful.
"Josep blames the reporters. I blame you," the fiery Spaniard told the journalist in question, Val Migliaccio.
Migliaccio fired back that the coach needed to accept the criticism of his team which, up until that point, had only won one game in the season.
While Gombau, a man not afraid to show his emotions after a goal, did not give one of his infamous sprays yesterday, he had the Adelaide media gallery nervous a few times.
And he kept them guessing too.
When asked whether defender Cassio could play against the Wanderers, Gombau responded with "he's close because it's been two weeks in a row that he's been training with the group".
"I know that the media asks always, and the people and the newspapers think we are not using him,'' he added. "But that's the wrong information. You need to come here to trainings and see who is training with the group, and who's not training with the group."
But then Gombau suddenly changed course by saying of Cassio "at this moment he's far away from what I expect from a professional player".
Gombau also did not like questions about his own future, after J-League team Yokohama F.Marinos showed interest in him.
"I explained that two weeks ago. It's true that I have an option, but it's true that I want to be here. I want to finish my job here," he said.
One thing Gombau was sure of was the positive team harmony that exists within his playing group, after a spirited 3-2 loss away to the Victory last Friday night.
"I think we did very well, but we paid for our mistakes. The feeling was more that we lost that game - we scored two own goals," he said. "We need to have a winning mentality every single game."
Despite his team sitting last on the ladder, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said he believed it was only a matter of time before things turned for the better for the Asian champions.
Following a 1-0 loss to the Roar on Wednesday night, the Wanderers did receive a boost this week with rising stars Jaushua Sotirio and Martin Lo re-signing with the club.
REDS V WANDERERS
Coopers Stadium, 6.30pm (AEST)
Also: Jets v Phoenix 4pm