Ivan Karlović admits Adelaide United were not at their fluent best after their narrow 1-0 loss to Canberra United at McKellar Park on Sunday.
It was just the Reds’ second defeat of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 campaign as Adelaide dropped out of the top four on goal difference.
But with three home matches to end the season, Adelaide have a real chance of creating history and securing a maiden finals appearance.
Ellie Carpenter’s second-half goal was the deciding factor as United were slightly off their game.
“We were disappointed, obviously they’ve got a good record at home where I thought we were just slightly off where we needed to be,” Karlović told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“I think Canberra played a game at a level where they needed to save their season to keep their season alive and I think that was the difference today.
“I think when we went a goal down we started to play, the first 15 minutes we were quite positive it was just that period through the middle of the game that let us down.”
Karlović said the squad are constantly improving and evolving as they learn to deal with the pressure of going into certain matches now expecting to win, compared to previous years when they were perhaps considered the underdog.
He said their success this season is also attributed to a shift in mentality and something that they will continue to build on.
“It’s another challenge for the group, you have to go into games where you’re expecting to win,” he explained.
“That’s another challenge and something that we have to learn to improve and develop. The team has had to improve and develop a lot this year and come across so many new challenges.
“For us it’s a learning curve and in this league you need to be at your best in every single game.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, what team you’ve got on paper, results over the course of the year have shown that.
“Today we weren’t at our best, and didn’t get the result – which we didn’t deserve at the end of the day.”
Adelaide United host Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 12 of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season on Saturday, 19 January at Marden Sports Complex. Kick-off is at 4.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 3.00pm. **Entry is free for the Foxtel Y-League immediately following the Westfield W-League fixture.