Gertjan Verbeek admits he saw further signs of improvement in Adelaide United’s dominant 3-1 win against 10-man Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide made it three consecutive victories over Victorian teams in as many weeks to consolidate their position in the top six.
Ben Halloran bagged a first-half brace and George Blackwood was also on target to claim a valuable three points for the Reds and consign City to a first defeat in five games.
Verbeek was delighted with the overall performance, particularly from a defensive perspective after limiting City’s attacking threats for almost the entire game, even before City were reduced to 10 men.
He said the only aspect he could fault was the fact his side did not increase their lead after the break to put the match to bed.
“Offensively we were already okay the last few weeks,” the Dutchman told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“We had our defensive problems, even last week – where we had to make four goals away to win against Western United.
“Today we didn’t give a lot away. We controlled the game with the ball and without the ball, so we are on a good way.
“In the second-half they didn’t have one chance I think even with eleven against eleven, it’s normal once you play with one man less that it gets difficult.
“But also when it was eleven against eleven we were defending very well and we tried to score the fourth goal.
“And that’s the only thing I could say today that we could do better, to make the fourth and fifth goal.”
Craig Noone initially equalised for the visitors four minutes after Halloran’s opener.
Verbeek believed his side could be more patient in possession to avoid unnecessary turnovers, but admitted he likes how his players’ first instincts are to look forward.
“I like that they play the first ball forward, but I don’t like long balls and that’s a big difference,” he said.
“Sometimes we are not patient enough to play the ball around at a high tempo.
“That’s also to do with the position players from the defenders.
“… We are very dangerous in attack, we have so much speed in front with (Ben) Halloran, Nikola (Mileusnić), and also Riley (McGree) from the midfield.
“Also George (Blackwood) is doing a good job as a striker, even though I think he’s better as a ten (attacking midfielder).”
Adelaide United face Brisbane Roar in Round 18 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Saturday, 8 February at Suncorp Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.