Gertjan Verbeek was left frustrated by his team’s decision to settle for a one-goal lead in the second-half against 10-man Newcastle Jets in the FFA Cup Quarter Final on Tuesday night.
The Adelaide United boss was disappointed that his side lost their shape and structure in the final 30 minutes of the match, but admitted he saw lots of encouraging signs particularly in the first-half.
Al Hassan Toure’s opportunistic goal in the 42nd minute proved the difference maker for the Reds after Newcastle goalkeeper Lewis Italiano was sent off inside 11 minutes.
Toure showed great anticipation to follow-up a goalkeeper error from substitute Glen Moss.
“First-half was good, second-half not so good,” Verbeek told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“And we had a lot of chances in the first-half. We had to make more goals in the first-half and the beginning of the second-half the same, two big chances I think.
“And then the last half hour I don’t know what my team was thinking.
“They changed a little in the midfield it was a little difficult for us to get pressure on it all the time. But also I think they wanted to defend the 1-0 lead – that’s not good.”
The Reds squandered several chances, most notably in the opening 45, to increase their lead which subsequently made for a few nervy moments in the final stages of the games.
However, the Dutch tactician could not fault his players’ desire as United marched to a third straight semi-final appearance.
“… Paul Izzo had I think in the last five minutes more of the ball in his hands than he did in the whole game,” he said.
“So that’s not a negative but it could be better and that’s what we want. We want to be better.
“… But the intentions are good from the players. They work hard and they do their best.”
After Toure scored for the third straight match, taking his haul to four goals this FFA Cup campaign, Verbeek revealed he was again impressed with the striker’s display.
The 19-year-old cut a composed figure in his first competitive match at Coopers Stadium, illustrating his strength in possession and excellent dribbling ability.
“He played against two amateur teams so the defenders will be less good than the defenders here from Newcastle,” Verbeek stated.
“I think also today he showed what his possibilities are. Not the whole game but in moments.
“He’s strong, he can keep the ball and he’s a goal getter because not every striker is running for that shot from (Ryan) Kitto.
“If he wasn’t there it’s no goal, so that’s Toure and he’s 19, so Kristian (Opseth) has to do his best to replace him.”