Carl Veart was proud of his Adelaide United players after his side succumbed to a 2-1 Semi-final defeat against Sydney FC on Saturday night.
The Reds conceded two first-half goals before James Delianov produced an impressive penalty save and Juande dispatched a sensational strike after the break.
However, despite a brave fightback Adelaide could not restore parity and Veart admitted the difference between the two teams was Sydney’s ruthlessness.
Veart believed his troops did not capitalise on its spells of dominance and were duly made to pay by a Sydney outfit who remain in the hunt for a three-peat.
“They took their opportunities and we didn’t take ours,” Veart said in the post-match press conference.
“I thought periods in the game where we had control we just didn’t make the most of that and that’s why Sydney are such a good side.
“They punish you when they get those opportunities and we just didn’t make the most of ours tonight.”
Although the Reds did not achieve their goal of reaching the Grand Final, Veart could not fault the application shown by his team tonight.
“Credit to our playing group,” he said.
“They’ve had a difficult season this year and they’ve done everything I’ve asked from them, so I’m very happy with the performances generally over the season.
“It would’ve been nice to get to the Grand Final, but on the day we just weren’t good enough.”
Looking at the season as a whole, the 51-year-old admitted he was proud of his team’s effort throughout what has been a challenging year.
Veart said he will now take some time away to reflect and analyse the campaign and aim to build on the foundations laid in his first full season in charge to strengthen the team moving forward.
“I’m very proud of the playing group,” he continued.
“We’ve come a long way this year, they’ve implemented the playing style that I’ve wanted to play.
“And we’ve got a lot of game time into a lot of our younger players over the course of the season, so they’ll be better for it for next season.
“We’ll go back reflect on this season and look at where we need to improve and in the pre-season we’ll be looking to improve on the season that we’ve had this year.”