Gertjan Verbeek attributes a lack of focus to Adelaide United’s slow start in their 2-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
The Reds were very sluggish to begin proceedings and conceded in the fourth minute after failing to clear a set-piece.
Adelaide improved soon after but could not take their chances and then shipped another goal from a set-piece, this time a corner just before the interval.
Verbeek believed complacency or a lack of attention to detail was an issue after suffering a second defeat to a team situated at the bottom of the table this season.
“It’s the second time that it’s happened to us,” Verbeek said in the post-match press conference referencing his side losing to then cellar-dweller Wellington Phoenix earlier this month.
“Wellington was also on the last place when we played against them and we lost also that game.
“And you see how we started in the game, the first five minutes – it was a disaster.
“In between the fourth minute and the 42 minutes when the second goal is there I think it was reasonable but then it’s 2-0 at half-time.”
The Dutchman said he was content with the start to the second stanza after Ben Halloran pulled a goal back in mesmerising fashion.
He acknowledged the endeavour shown by his players following the re-start but ultimately it was not enough.
“We started well (in the second-half) so that was better, we learnt from the first-half,” he added.
“But we weren’t good enough to get at least a point with us back to Adelaide.
“Every time we were too late, Central Coast was more aggressive so that they win the second balls and then you control the game.
“Even then we got some good chances in the second-half of the first-half, so I said at half-time when we make it 2-1 early it’s still a game and you can come back.
“And we tried everything in the second-half so I can’t complain about the attitude, but it was not enough and we made a lot of mistakes, and you lose the game here.”
Verbeek said the team’s concentration levels must always be high regardless of the game and its significance.
The 57-year-old reiterated that if his players do not bring the necessary level of application and desperation each week they will not be successful.
He stressed the intensity they demonstrated in big matches such as the FFA Cup Final triumph against Melbourne City and their rousing win over Melbourne Victory must translate into all matches.
“They have to understand that if they’re not ready for the game and not 100% focused on what to do then you’ve a real chance to lose,” he affirmed.
“We can reach a good level when the opponent is challenging us like (Melbourne) Victory, it’s a derby at home, the final against Melbourne (City).
“I think also the first (league) game here (against Central Coast), the first 15 minutes not good, but then we played half an hour of fantastic football.
“So we can do that but the focus has to be okay and know that we have to do it together as a team and everybody has to give 100% and if not then we’re vulnerable.”
Adelaide United host Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 12 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Friday, 27 December at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 6.00pm. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.