Challenge and adversity healthy for us - Riera

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 21 January 2023

SALOU, Catalonia - Albert Riera says Auckland City FC's plans remain on track as the team returned to training at Futbol Salou Sports Complex in Salou today.

Reus FC Reddis knocked Auckland City FC over 1-0 in wintery conditions last night but were back at work as they prepare for their second friendly of their Spanish tour against Korean champions Jeonbuk Motors FC on Sunday.

Riera was all positivity as he reviewed the performance then explained the logic behind the design of City's preparatory camp.

"When we organised these friendly games we knew the first one would be a very hard task for the players after one group landed 48 hours prior to the game and the other group landing 24 hours prior to the game.

"This was done on purpose because the reality is we have just ten days to prepare for a very hard game against Al Ahly, so the more challenging tasks and setbacks we have in front of us, the better," Riera said.

Only two players present in Spain missed out on game time with Riera cycling through his outfielders while goalkeepers Conor Tracey and Finn Dockerty remained on standby for Cam Brown.

"The first thing we wanted to do was give 60 minutes and 30 minutes to the players who landed 48 hours ago but we checked the numbers and saw that everyone was looking pretty good so we decided to give 45 minutes to each player.

"Reus FC Reddis were very fit and well organised and 12 games into their season which is what we wanted in an opponent so we can see the things we need to work on.

"We're right in the middle of our pre-season so you want to play teams that expose you - they find their passes, they're slick with the ball and they're very fit, and they demand a lot from you.

"We saw that yesterday and I thought our team gave a lot of effort they put everything into it but obviously its early days, we have to improve a lot and in two days time we have another challenging game and it's about improving every day," Riera said.

New signings Nikko Boxall, Regont Murati and Michael den Heijer, alongside youngsters like Adam Bell, Liam Gillion, Nathan Lobo and Matt Ellis, showed glimpses of the potential they bring to the side and Riera said he was delighted to have them at the club.

"Giving New Zealand players a chance to play for Auckland City FC in Spain against strong opposition is a fantastic chance for them and us. They're gelling well, they know the style of football we want to implement and we're extremely happy to see them wearing Navy Blue," he said.

Auckland City FC's next test is on Sunday against a familiar foe.

Jeonbuk Motors, Korea's K-League Champions, played Auckland City FC at the FIFA Club World Cup on 15 December 2006 in Tokyo, thumping then coach Allan Jones' side, 3-0.

City missed an open goal that night when Grant Young squared for Paul Seaman who could only sidefoot past the far post when it looked easier to score.

Given City also played Al Ahly at that same tournament, its easy to get nostalgic, but Riera is all business.

"I expect another very tough game from a Jeonbuk team that on paper is stronger than Reus FC Reddis.

"Again we're raising the challenges for our players and that's why we scheduled everything in that order so by the time we arrive in Morocco we hopefully have had the best possible preparation for the FIFA Club World Cup.

"We expect a tough game from Jeonbuk Motors but one that's beneficial for us and one we hope to make the most of."

Ends

Match Details
Prestige Friendly
Sunday 22 January 2023
Jeonbuk Motors v Auckland City FC
Futbol Salou Sports Complex, Spain
Kick-off: 12.00

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 5.Nikko BOXALL, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Regont MURATI, 13. Nathan LOBO, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 18. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 21. Mike den HEIJER, 22. Adam BELL, 23. Matt ELLIS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 25. Taukya IWATA.

OUT: 6. Dan MORGAN (injured - did not travel), 14. Jordan VALE (absent), 17. Reid DRAKE (absent).

COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MASSEUSE: Natalia KOSINSKA
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
TECHNICAL: Adria CASALS
ANALYST: Jarrod WALLACE
MANAGER: Keith COTON.

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