Fear not, we will make the finals

Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014

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OPINION: As Adelaide United's fifth goal went in at Hindmarsh Stadium on Thursday night, I turned to fiancee Elle and said: "Do you think anybody would mind if I didn't do the column this week? I don't want to talk about that."

Then I thought, hold on. If somebody had told me Albert Riera, Louis Fenton and myself would be out for the season and that, come February we would be one place and one point out of the top six, I'd have ripped their hands off.

Results in the A League are notoriously hard to predict. I put it down to the salary cap.

When we beat the defending champion Central Coast Mariners last week we didn't become the best team in the league. Just like our beating in Adelaide on Thursday didn't suddenly make us the worst.

This season we have only been outplayed in two games and both times we've copped five goals.

Melbourne Heart and Adelaide were able to catch us on the counter-attack. The way we are trying to play is attacking front-half football and when it breaks down these things can happen.

But I love our new style and it's been working more often than not. We are still well placed to make the finals and I firmly believe we will.

Adelaide have the best imports in the league, even without the silky Marcelo Carrusca on this occasion. Jeronimo Neumann, Cirio and Fabio Ferriera all scored and were instrumental in the way Adelaide played.

People often question import signings, as they cut down the places for locals. But with this crop at the helm I'm sure Adelaide will have a good shout in the finals.

We were beaten by the better team and I'm sure the boys will be hurting. But the beauty of football is we have a game on March 9 to look forward to and a chance to get on a winning run ahead of the finals.

Meanwhile, getting out of my moonboot was supposed to be a big milestone. But it's been a tough week and I'm in a lot more pain.

Getting around seems much harder, but at least I've been able to start swimming.

The logistics are interesting, due to the fact that I have to wear my orthotic-heeled shoes at all times and the easiest way to re-rupture your Achilles is by slipping on wet surfaces.

After I got into my swimming shorts, I had to put my shoes back on, shuffle to the pool and after taking the shoes off and leaving them as close to the pool as possible, do a bum shuffle into the pool. I then have to swim with my toes pointed at all times to protect the tendon.

I have to add that I am not a big fan of swimming. The boys normally refer to me as Eric "The Eel" Moussambani.

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For the record, I completed 14 lengths which is the most swimming I've done in around 10 years.

I really hope the club can secure a pre-season game against an English Premier League club. It will come too soon for me personally, but I know the players, staff and fans will be pleased to have something that special on the horizon.

This time of the year in England sees the promotion-relegation battles really hot up. Having been in a promotion race to the EPL, in 2005-06 when I was playing for Sheffield United, I know how every game mattered.

I believe for the A-League to develop further there needs to be some form of promotion and relegation also. The new FFA Cup shows progress, but promotion and relegation will enhance the league further and have more teams with plenty to play for towards the end of the season.

Follow the Wellington Phoenix's Paul Ifill on Twitter at @paulifill

- The Dominion Post

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