United's coach has tinkered with his side's formation in search of the most effective approach, and now seems to have his preferred tactics in mind
|By CHRISTIAN MAMMONE
Adelaide United coach John Kosmina said the Reds' constant change in attack and formation this A-League season has been due to the personnel he has at his disposal this season.
Early in Kosmina's second stint at the helm, which began last December after Rini Coolen was sacked, the Reds operated with a standard and tweaked 4-4-2 formation.
Kosmina utilised powerful strike duo Sergio van Dijk and Bruce Djite, with marquee star Dario Vidosic in an attacking triangle system at the head of the formation.
However, the 56-year-old changed the structure once more for Adelaide's 2012 AFC Champions League tournament, opting for a target forward with Vidosic floating in behind the front man and wingers pushing high up the ground in support.
United's setup has been tinkered with twice already this season, but Kosmina looks to have finally settled on a new attacking shape that operates without a recognised striker.
Argentine import and attacking midfielder Jeronimo Neumann has led the attack for the Reds, while fellow countryman Marcelo Carrusca and Vidosic drop in behind.
"It suits the players that we have at our disposal," Kosmina said of the fresh arrangement.
"We tried to change it a bit, trying to find the best combination, and I think we are starting to see the understanding between Dario and Marcelo.
"I like to play with two [No.]10s and I like to play with width as well.
"We've got the width, we've got the cover and we've certainly got the expertise in the middle of the park with Dario and Marcelo."
Reflecting on his previous approaches, Kosmina said his hand was forced after a few hiccups to develop a new formation for the current campaign.
"[Last season's] 4-4-2 and 4-4-2 diamond you have got to really, really work on and it's the two guys on the side of the diamond that are most important," Kosmina said.
"It worked for a little while but then we changed it for the [AFC] Champions League... from memory Brucey [Djite] lost a bit of form and we were all of a sudden down a striker.
"And now we probably don’t have the right sort of players for the diamond."
Having chosen not to utilise a dedicated striker, Djite and van Dijk in particular have found their opportunities limited this season.
Van Dijk was linked with a move to Indonesia but it failed to materialise, while, speaking on Wednesday, Djite said he was unsure of his future in Adelaide.
But Kosmina said the 25-year-old was a required player.
"Brucey's a good bloke and he's training the house down, it's just with our shape at the moment we've got two or three number nines," Kosmina said.
"We want to build with Dario, Marcelo and Jeronimo so Bruce has to come off the bench.
"He did a great job when he came on for us last week [against Perth Glory] and he did a great job when he came on for us against Brisbane.
The former Sydney FC coach was not sure so reassuring when addressing van Dijk - not included in the squad to face Melbourne Heart this Saturday for the second week in succession - despite recently re-iterating his desire to keep a hold of the Dutch-born forward.
"Serge just has to bide his time," Kosmina said.
"He trains well, applies himself well, but at the moment Bruce is a better option... a different option."
Beyond van Dijk's absence for Saturday's clash with the Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide will also be without defender Daniel Bowles, who is out with a minor groin injury.
Cam Watson will replace Bowles at right-back, while Fabian Barbiero returns to the bench after a stint in the National Youth League.