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Quality and depth vital - Albert Riera

Words: ACFC Media

Thursday 3 March 2022

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC coach Albert Riera has cast a constructively critical eye over the Navy Blues performance after they brushed by a youthful Eastern Suburbs AFC at Te Atatu last night.

Goals from Ryan De Vries, Angus Kilkolly, Liam Gillion and Cam Howieson cancelled out a strike from John Van As as the Navy Blues ran out 4-1 winners.

The win gives Riera two victories from two in a truncated pre-season friendly schedule and former midfielder declared himself satisfied with the performance and where his team is at in its preparations for the 2022 campaign.

Auckland City FC DNA

"Overall it was a very positive game for us. Scoring goals and winning games always gives you confidence.

"However, its about looking after the process - understanding what we're doing with the ball, without the ball.

"It's vital everyone has got a clear understanding of our football DNA," he said.

Eastern Suburbs AFC gave the Navy Blues a solid workout and Riera said it was important to show respect.

"Its always good to play a team like Eastern Suburbs AFC whether its a friendly game or not.

"They always give us a good test and it always demands a lot from our players.

"It was definitely the case last night and it gave us the chance to see things, a lot of positive things and others we have to work on.

"What is good for us is to see the emergence of a mutual understanding between the new players and the ones that were here last season.

"The new additions are doing very well and I'm satisfied with the high intensity we showed in and out of possession.

"We want to be a team that will win the ball high up the pitch.

"Players know we demand a lot from them and the standards and intensity so far has been great but the players know they can't relax.

"There are one or two things we can do better but overall I'm very glad with the way the game went," he said.

Opportunities for U-23 players, Covid-19 and Adria Casals, Matt Payne

Auckland City FC have another friendly match scheduled for Saturday, this one against East Coast Bays, but with Covid-19 wreaking havoc through the community and casting doubt on the composition of playing squads, Riera said making sure players got minutes was crucial.

He also described how the club's U-23 set-up was important to that aim.

"We gave some minutes to other players tonight, we're always very conscientious about the loading during the week on each individuals.

"Adria Casals is doing a wonderful job checking on the players progress with the GPS.

"Matt Payne is also working hard to ensure the players are as fit as possible and also managing the return of others to action.

"In regards to this aspect, its important you have the right people in place making sure we're as fit and ready as possible.

"We don't want to be overloading players at training and combined with friendly games so Matt and Adria's work is each very important.

"We gave a couple of the U-23 players in Rayan Tayeb and Adam Bell a run and I thought they did very well.

"With Covid-19 in the community its going to hit us just the same as everyone else and we have to accept it as the reality.

"We currently have three players who have tested positive and that number can always increase.

"Its imperative that we have quality and depth at our disposal this season.

"We have good competition for places and that's a positive for us just in case anything happens to disrupt our planning like injuries, Covid-19 or suspensions.

"Our U-23 side is very important to what we are trying to achieve.

"We have a very good group of U-23 players working with Kris Bright who are always ready to step up to the first team.

"That gives everyone motivation to work harder and be ready to take their chance if it comes - we have to be ready for it," Riera said.

The exact details of the friendly match with East Coast Bays are yet to be confirmed.

Ends

Match Result
Pre-season friendly
Wednesday 2 March 2022
Auckland City FC 4 (Ryan DE VRIES 15', Angus KILKOLLY 54', Liam GILLION 70', Cam HOWIESON 82')
Eastern Suburbs AFC 1 (John VAN AS 47')
HT: 1-0.

AC: 1. Cam BROWN (GK); 2. Mario ILICH (22. Rayan TAYEB 75'), 3. Adam MITCHELL (4. Christian GRAY 75'), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY (10. Dylan MANICKUM 75'), 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 45'), 17. Reid DRAKE (15. Aidan CAREY 75'), 23. Alfie ROGERS (13. Adam BELL 60').

SUBS USED: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK).

COACH: Albert RIERA

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