John Aloisi says Melbourne Heart have a problem closing out games after they threw away another lead to lose 2-1 to Sydney FC on Sunday.
The Heart appeared on track for a third straight win when they led 1-0 with less than six minutes left before two late goals saw the Sky Blues get out of jail.
It continues a worrying trend for the Heart, who have made a habit this season of conceding late goals.
They lost the derby to a stoppage-time Archie Thompson strike, while Aloisi’s troops also squandered a two-goal second-half lead in going down 3-2 to Wellington last month.
“Because we’ve conceded late on in games the players get a bit anxious towards the end,” Aloisi said of his side’s tendency to concede late goals.
“Our game is to try and keep ball as long as possible. We haven’t got a squad that is (suited) to sit back and have two banks of four.
“We just don’t have the players to do it and sometimes it might be the reason why we don’t close out a game 1-0.
“We’ve got players that are good on the ball and that’s why we’ve selected them.
“You can also win games 1-0 by keeping possession of the ball but we didn’t do that well enough in second half.”
The last-gasp defeat has seen the Heart drop out of the top six ahead of a vital home clash with Adelaide on Friday night.
With six teams set to be vying for the final two spots in the finals, Aloisi admitted his side’s late capitulation to the Sky Blues has brought them back to the chasing pack.
“The thing that hurts the most is that it’s close around there and it’s an opportunity lost for us,” the Heart coach said.
“We felt that we even though we haven’t played the best the last two games we’ve been able to win.
“I thought that we’ve got that winning feeling and spirit and the boys will be able to kick on for the rest of the season.
“But we didn’t do that tonight and we lost a chance to go fifth but there’s still time to get into the finals.”