Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson lamented a missed opportunity after his side slumped to a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
The visitors saw their winless run in the A-League extended to five games after Golgol Mebrahtu’s 89th-minute strike at AAMI Park.
With Heart missing Socceroos trio Richard Garcia, Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone, Ferguson felt his team had the chance to cement their spot in the top six.
“(I’m) really disappointed in today’s effort. I really thought today was a day we could’ve cemented again and try and get a run going and it never worked out that way,” a disappointed Ferguson said afterwards.
“They had a lot of players out and we had an opportunity to go and cement three points today and I think that was the biggest disappointment.”
Glory were caught out by a counter-attack, with Josip Tadic setting up Mebrahtu for the late winner, after having a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Ferguson said his side did not deserve a point after a below-par performance.
“I just felt today we weren’t quick in transition. I felt we were slow in what we were doing and we gave the opposition time to regroup and get back into their shape,” he said.
“We didn’t move it quick enough. We were taking too long on the ball, but we’ve probably got what we deserved today.
“We never played at all well – as well as I’d expect us to play.”
Ferguson admitted last season’s beaten grand finalists were performing below expectations, sitting seventh on the table.
“We’re pretty confident we can get it back on track again. We’ve got to – it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“I just said to the boys, not unless there’s real pressure on this club – that’s when we start to react.
“We should be doing a lot better than what we are doing at this moment in time.”
Ferguson said star midfielder Liam Miller was no certainty to return from his back injury for Glory’s clash against Newcastle at nib Stadium on Friday night.
“We’ll assess him when we get back. We’ve given him plenty of opportunity to rest and get his injury right,” Ferguson said.
“It’s more encouraging than what it was over the last couple of weeks.”