Sydney FC superstar Alessandro Del Piero insists the club are moving in the right direction despite a second straight defeat in the A-League.
The Italian playmaker scored his first goal for the Sky Blues with a magical first-half free kick against Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
However, his efforts were not enough to avoid a 3-2 loss in a pulsating encounter that also included a goal from Jets marquee man Emile Heskey.
“From last week definitely we improved, we had a great second half but we have to do all the match like that with the same energy and same concentration,” Del Piero said.
“We have to smile a little bit because we are definitely not happy about what’s happened tonight but we have a lot of work to do.
“This is the second match for us, not only for me but for a lot of guys.
“This is one of the worst things that’s happened to us because we have to know each other, sometimes the training is not enough.
“We’re not happy but we’re going up a little bit.”
Asked to relive the goal that left the 35,419 crowd in raptures, Del Piero replied: “I’m happy to score the goal but I play for the win, not to score the goal.
“But I’m happy, it’s a good start for us at home. We had 35,000 people (which is) amazing and we are very proud of this and we hope at the end of the season the fans will be proud of us more than today and I think that will happen.
“I think the people didn’t completely enjoy today because we lost but they watched five goals and we hope next time if there’s five goals it’s three for us and not for the opposition.”
Coach Ian Crook was full of praise for his marquee man but lamented his side’s poor first half.
“We just watched him produce again another 90 minutes of what we all knew he could do plus with the icing on the cake with the goal,” Crook said.
“I think people would have gone away disappointed that we got beat but I think they’ve seen a good game of football today.”
Ryan Griffiths gave the Jets the lead in the 12th minute before Del Piero answered with a curling 25m free kick in the 26th minute.
Heskey restored the visitors’ lead with his first goal in Jets colours just before the break and when Craig Goodwin hammered home a classy finish on the hour the Sky Blues had a mountain to climb.
“The first half was probably where the game was won and lost, I felt that we just didn’t affect the game that much in the first half and we turned the ball over cheaply for the (Jets’ second) goal,” Crook said.
“And then we were chasing the game but full credit to the players I thought in the second half they just gave it absolutely everything and if a couple of things go our way it’s a different result.
“It’s been a massive day, a fantastic crowd and I thought they were magnificent and stuck with the team the whole way through and we need to build from the second half, that’s what we need to use today.”