Adrian Stenta believed little separated the two teams after Adelaide United’s three-match winning streak came to an end against Sydney FC on Sunday.
The Reds went down 1-0 after conceding a second-half goal which sealed the Sky Blues premiership title at Coopers Stadium.
Stenta said their last match of the regular season provided a solid test for his players a week out from finals and felt his understrength side competed well.
“I think the intensity of the game was exactly what we needed,” Stenta told reporters after the game.
“And our opposition did play well and put us under pressure, but I felt like we were able to respond and create some opportunities down our end as well.
“Especially early on, we had a couple of really good ones we weren’t able to take and I guess at the end of the day, they were able to take one of theirs and we weren’t able to take any of ours and that was the difference in the game.”
The boss was asked to comment on what makes Sydney such a difficult side to play against and suggested the continuity and stability built in the squad for several seasons has been fundamental to their success.
“I think they’ve got a lot of consistency in their side over the years with the playing group and also the coaching staff,” he said.
“So they’re well drilled and they know their game really well and have got good quality players.”
Adelaide’s attention now turns to its maiden finals clash when it hosts Melbourne Victory this weekend.
It will be the third meeting between the pair this campaign.
“They’re familiar to us, we’ve played them twice this year, we played them last week,” Stenta said.
“So we’ll see how our players pull up after today’s game, but we’ll go into the game with confidence and we know that we can get a result if play well.”
Emily Condon is also expected to return for the match after missing the last three games due to sustaining a hamstring injury.
“She’s really close,” a confident Stenta disclosed.
“If we needed to, we probably could’ve played her today, but we decided not to take the risk, so she’s back training and we hope she’ll be available for selection next week.”