It was what Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau didn’t say – or rather, told you not to say – that told the story of his side’s 2-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets on Friday night.
The Reds, coming off a busy schedule involving the FFA Cup final on Tuesday, were noticeably off the pace for the entire 90 minutes at Hunter Stadium.
After going down 1-0, Adelaide levelled the score through Craig Goodwin, but couldn’t maintain their pressure and Jeronimo slotted the winner nine minutes from fulltime for the Jets’ first win of the season.
Clearly the heavy travel and playing schedule affected the Reds.
“I think Friday to Friday, for three weeks we’ve played this and we’re a team that not only works hard on the ball but works hard to recover as soon as possible,” Gombau said.
“This pressing was there, but we arrived a second late in every single action and for me this is the problem. With the ball we played well, but we don’t have the ball speed we normally play with because mentally and physically we are tired.
“We just didn’t recover or get on time to the action but it’s not useful to play in two competitions.
“We played this today after the final. Don’t say that, it’s not an excuse but it’s clear what happened today.”
Gombau was pleased with the way his side fought back into the contest after conceding early in the second half, but admitted there was little he or anyone could do to stop the Jets going on to their first win.
“When we scored we controlled the game. The remaining time we didn’t control the game but a mistake cost us the ball and cost us the game.
“I’m not unsatisfied with the players, they tried everything.
“Normally we have more possession because we play around the ball and this is our style, but it doesn’t give you the right to be aggressive. We had our chances and maybe if we scored one of these goals the result would change.”