Ange Postecoglou blamed Melbourne Victory’s inability to carry out their game plan for their 2-1 loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Victory made a poor start to 2013 on Tuesday as they were out-muscled and outplayed by the Wanderers before two stunning goals from Shinji Ono consigned the visitors to just their second loss in 10 games.
While the visitors had good spells of possession, there was none of the free-flowing, quick-paced football that has seen them surge up the table in recent months.
Postecoglou praised Ono for his impact on the game but felt his side was well below their best and got what they deserved.
“We’ve got certain basic principles in our game that we’ve been good at following and our discipline at doing that but tonight was just poor,” the Victory coach lamented.
“We just didn’t follow some of the basic fundamentals of our game and we got punished for it.
“We never really got into good rhythm at any stage and from an overall perspective we need to be a lot better than we were tonight.”
Asked why he felt the Victory struggled to produce their best, Postecoglou said: “I’m not sure why we didn’t click.
“You have to give credit to them (Wanderers), they probably deserved their victory.
“We didn’t follow our set team rules in how we want to play and when we shift away from that, the game becomes a game of chance as it ended up being.
“We could have got something from the game but it wouldn’t have given us any optimism over our progress.”
Compounding matters for the Victory was a knee injury to classy midfielder Gui Finkler, who had to be substituted out of the game after just seven minutes.
The club will await results of scans on Wednesday but Postecoglou said the initial prognosis “doesn’t look good”.
“He (Finkler) got crunched pretty hard the first couple of challenges which is pretty much the norm these days,” Postecoglou said of the Brazilian’s injury.
“In one of those he must have twisted it and he really struggled after that.”
The Victory host Wellington on Saturday with Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan available again after a two-game ban.